When Bill Gates has something to say, he's usually on point. Just take a look at his 2015 Ted Talk, where he warned us of the next pandemic. He was eerily correct. And as recently as September 2021, Gates proclaimed that we're still not ready for the next COVID-19 level pandemic.
So if his 2015 predictions are anything to go by, the global community should probably take heed when Gates says a global effort is required to curb any future pandemics from occurring.
Speaking in an interview for the Policy Exchange thinktank with the former Health Secretary of the U.K., Jeremy Hunt, Gates said that a global effort worth tens of billions of dollars is required to prepare the world for future pandemics.
The future of a pandemic taskforce
Projects aimed at improving vaccines, treatments, and diagnostic tests are needed to stop any upcoming pandemic, said Microsoft's founder. Gates acknowledged that vaccines have come a long way, but are still mostly used as a measure to minimize severe disease — not entirely blocking transmission, reported The Guardian.
In the interview, Gates stated that a pandemic taskforce at the World Health Organization (WHO) level would require "about a billion dollars a year" for research and development funding. This global taskforce could partially prepare the world for a future pandemic by running what Gates called "germ games." These practice "games" would see countries responding to hypothetical events that could lead to the next outbreak.
One example of a "germ game," per Gates, is for countries to respond to a hypothetical bioterrorist unleashing smallpox at 10 airports.
So if we're to prevent such devastating global, economical, medical, and emotional events like a pandemic from happening again, a major focus on vaccine and treatment advancement needs to happen.
Gates is ready to push his idea forward, as The National News reported, which he believes will be received with open arms by many governments worldwide. "I think it’ll find fertile ground because, you know, we lost trillions of dollars and millions of lives. And citizens expect their governments not to let that happen again."