Bill Gates is optimistic about beating the coronavirus and the anti-vaxxer conspiracy theories. While the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged more than $350 million to defeating the disease, he’s being vilified by nutjobs who claim he seeded the virus himself for nefarious purposes.
Here’s the condensed version of a Gates interview with Bloomberg.
On confidence we’ll have a vaccine by the end of 2020?
Gates says the initial vaccine won’t be ideally effective against sickness and transmission of the virus, and probably won’t have much longevity. It will likely be a stopgap measure in rich countries. We’ll be lucky to have much before the end of 2020, but in 2021 there will be other vaccines available, with the strongest response probably coming from the protein subunit.
We keep saying that if anti-vaxxers had lived through a pandemic like our grandparents, they wouldn’t be anti-vaxxers.
Gates says that since 2016 he has been to the White House twice and was told he had to go listen to anti-vaxxers like Robert Kennedy, Jr. It’s ironic that people are questioning vaccines and we wonder “How else are we going to get out of a pandemic?”
With this skepticism, should vaccines be mandatory?
Making anything mandatory can backfire, but we may be able to mandate that if you work around the elderly, it would be required.
What do you think of the conspiracy theories that you are pursuing vaccines for mind control using 5G technology?
It’s strange. They take the fact that I’m involved with vaccines and they just reverse it, so instead of giving money to save lives, I’m making money to get rid of lives. If that stops people from taking a vaccine or looking at the latest data about wearing a mask, then it’s a big problem.
What about hydroxychloroquine?
We live in an age of science but sometimes it doesn’t feel that way. Hydroxychloroquine might have looked good in the test tube, but there are other therapeutics coming that don’t have the drastic side effects.
Is it harmful that the U.S. and other countries are buying up vaccine supplies before they are approved?
Cooperation within countries and between countries should be the goal to protect everyone. While the U.S. has funded more research and development than any other country, we haven’t procured any resources to help poor countries, but only ourselves.
How do you see this ending?
The innovations in therapeutics will start to cut the death rate, but the true end will come from the spread of natural infections and the vaccine giving us herd immunity. For rich countries, that will be sometime next year, ideally in the first half. We’ll get out of this by the end of 2021…. we’re lucky it wasn’t a more fatal disease.