Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates has called on US lawmakers to help less-developed countries procure coronavirus vaccines. Gates, whose foundation has pledged more than $350 million towards research on the infectious disease, said he encouraged legislators to consider adding $8 billion to the economic relief bill that is currently being discussed by lawmakers. This money, Gates said, would help other nations get vaccines and stop the outbreak.
"We’re trying to make sure we can end it [the COVID-19 outbreak] not just in the rich countries", Gates said in an interview with Bloomberg News.
The 64-year-old expects that the coronavirus inoculations will be ready by the beginning of 2021, although he noted that these vaccines won’t be ideal for preventing the spread of the disease and may not have a long duration. At the same time, Gates voiced optimism that innovations in diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines will bring the world out of the coronavirus crisis by the end of next year. "The true end comes when between natural infection and a vaccine we have this herd immunity", he told Bloomberg News.
Numerous coronavirus vaccines are being developed across the world and a number of countries, including Britain, the European Union, Japan, and the United Sates, have already secured deals for the supply of 1.3 billion doses of potential coronavirus inoculations. Given the fact that vaccines will enable countries to fully reopen their economies, there is a concern among health experts that wealthy countries could monopolise the supply of COVID-19 inoculations, leaving poor nations alone in their fight against the disease. There have also been fears that there may not be enough vaccines for everyone.
It is for this reason that Bill Gates and his foundation have funded several companies worldwide to develop therapies and vaccines for SARS-CoV-2. Gates, who years ago warned the world about the dangers of a pandemic, has become a scapegoat, with numerous conspiracy theorists claiming that he started the outbreak in order to microchip the world’s population to control it, a claim that he has denied.
The conspiracy started after the Microsoft co-founder in March assumed that at some point during the outbreak, people would be carrying digital certificates to show who had recovered from the disease, who had been tested, and who had been vaccinated.