07:32 GMT09 August 2020
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    In the next ten years, the world could find itself in the midst of an epidemic it cannot control if it does not get together and tackle the spread of antibiotic resistance, billionaire and co-founder of US technology giant Microsoft Bill Gates said Friday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — UN chief Ban Ki-moon said last September antimicrobial resistance poses a fundamental threat to humans. According to the UN, an epidemic of multidrug-resistant typhoid is now sweeping across parts of Africa, while extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis has been identified in over 100 countries.

    "I cross my fingers all the time that some epidemic like a big flu doesn’t come along in the next ten years," Gates, whose grant-making foundation supports research on new vaccines, told BBC Radio 4’s Today program.

    The philanthropist said past achievements in the development of antimicrobial drugs led to complacency, while their overuse got the bugs to evolve around the existing drugs.

    "I do think we’ll have much better medical tools, much better response, but we are a bit vulnerable right now. If something spread very quickly like a flu that was quite fatal, that would be a tragedy and new approaches should allow us to reduce that risk a lot," Gates said.

    The wealthier countries have the capacities to fight antimicrobial resistance and if they do not get involved soon epidemics will come into these countries too. "So it’s not just a humanitarian goal here, there’s a strong self-interest that we want global health security," he added.


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