Bill Gates believes we are living with imminent and much more dangerous pandemic outbreaks while also fighting Climate Change. The Microsoft founder and philanthropist previously warned of a COVID-19 style global pandemic in a 2015 Ted Talk and made his latest predictions in a Veritasium YouTube interview about his new book.
Asked ‘what will be the next global disaster?’ he responded by suggesting a more sinister pandemic deliberately caused by humans, plus the ongoing spectre of Climate Change: “Also related to pandemics is something people don’t like to talk about much, which is bioterrorism; that somebody who wants to cause damage could engineer a virus and so that means the cost of running into this is more than just the naturally caused pandemics like this current one.”
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has already donated billions of dollars towards innovations and technology to prevent and protect against pandemics: in 2010 the foundation pledged $10bn to vaccine development over ten years and then gave an extra $250m in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The potential need and growth in this sector is also attracting investment, as highlighted by the recent launch of the Luxembourg-based Vector Innovation Fund, with its $300m Pandemic Protection sub-fund based around investment in technology for future healthcare in preparation for the ‘next COVID’, and unlocking potential growth, value and prosperity from innovative and disruptive technologies.
This sub-fund is helping ignite the new tech driven investment era in global healthcare, a sector tipped to soar by 50% extra each year towards a market worth $1.333 trillion by 2027 (source: Precedence Research 2020). In a recent Forbes interview, Bill Gates suggested that we must prepare for future pandemics as if they were a threat of war, and the Gates’ foundation’s annual letter for 2020 called on wealthy nations to invest tens of billions of dollars to be ready for the next pandemic after Covid-19.
Gates’ heavyweight support was welcomed by The World Nano Foundation (WNF) the not-for-profit organisation that advances innovation and commercialisation of nanoscale technologies.
WNF Co-founder Paul Sheedy said: “Not only is Bill Gates pledging huge amounts from his own foundation, but also calling for government and private investment in global issues like pandemic protection and Climate Change where nanotechnologies can play a vital part.”
Nanotechnology had helped speed development and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, investment to develop a universal mRNA vaccine and other measures that will be crucial to global protection from another virus outbreak, and Sheedy concluded:
“Nanomedicines and nano-based diagnostics and other nanotechnology breakthroughs have been vital to the on-going COVID-19 battle, highlighting the need to back the science and technology with investment that can benefit us all while delivering value and extending human longevity.”