Tech billionaire turned philanthropist Bill Gates says that he is optimistic that a vaccine for Covid-19 will be developed soon but that the pandemic will last another year.
In an interview with US tech magazine Wired, Gates said that “for the rich world, we should largely be able to end this thing by the end of 2021, and for the world at large by the end of 2022.”
He said that this is due to the scale of innovation on new vaccines and therapeutics that is taking place.
Gates also shared concerns that countries like the US and Russia that are moving full speed ahead could rush to approve a vaccine that isn’t safe and effective.
“I bet there’ll be some vaccines that will get out to lots of patients without the full regulatory review somewhere in the world. We probably need three or four months, no matter what, of phase 3 data, just to look for side effects,” he told Wired.
“The FDA, to their credit, at least so far, is sticking to requiring proof of efficacy. So far they have behaved very professionally despite the political pressure,” he added.
Gates and his wife Melinda have invested millions in the development of vaccines and on Friday it was announced that the Gates Foundation would be putting $150 million towards distributing coronavirus vaccines to low-income countries in 2021.
The partnership with the Serum Institute of India (SII) and global vaccination alliance Gavi plans to deliver at least 100 million Covid-19 vaccinations, which are expected to cost $3 each.
This deal comes as countries around the world grapple to get their hands on the production and distribution rights of a vaccine from pharmaceutical companies.
“Researchers are making good progress on developing safe and effective vaccines for Covid-19,” Bill Gates said in a statement.
“But making sure everyone has access to them, as soon as possible, will require tremendous manufacturing capacity and a global distribution network. This collaboration gives the world some of both: the power of India’s manufacturing sector and Gavi’s supply chain.”
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