Bill Gates warns the risk of new variants could mean “we haven’t seen the worst” of a pandemic


Bill Gates has warned that we may not yet have seen the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic and that a deadlier variant of the virus could be emerging.

The Microsoft billionaire said he didn’t want to be “totally gloomy” but said there was a “5 percent risk” the pandemic could get worse and urged world leaders to spend more to improve preparedness for health threats.

Mr Gates has long warned of the global threats posed by viruses. He previously gave a lecture in 2015 in which he claimed the world is “not ready for the next epidemic” and that viruses, not war, pose the greatest risk of “global catastrophe”.

The philanthropist said so financial times: “We still run the risk of this pandemic spawning an even more transmissible and even deadlier variant.

“It’s unlikely, I don’t want to be a voice of doom and gloom, but it’s well over a 5 percent risk that we haven’t even seen the worst of this pandemic.”

The philanthropist also called for a team of experts, which would cost around $1 billion and would be led by the World Health Organization (WHO), to detect and prevent future pandemics.

He said: “The amount of money at stake is very small compared to the benefit, and it will be a test: Can global institutions take on new responsibilities in an excellent way, even at a time when the US and China are at odds.” devices [relations are] hard, US-Russia is extremely hard?”

It comes as WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who urged countries to maintain surveillance of coronavirus infections and said the world is “blind” to the spread of the virus due to falling testing rates.

“As many countries reduce testing, the WHO receives less and less information about transmission and sequencing,” he said at a news conference at the UN agency’s headquarters in Geneva.

“This makes us increasingly blind to transmission and evolutionary patterns.”

Bill Rodriguez, executive director of FIND, a global aid group working with WHO to expand access to testing, said “testing rates have fallen by 70 to 90 percent”.

“We have an unparalleled ability to know what’s happening. And yet today we are becoming blind to what is happening with this virus as testing was the first casualty of a global decision to drop our vigilance,” he added.

In other developments, an analysis of data from 50 studies has shown that almost half of people recovering from the coronavirus still have post-Covid illnesses.

Visit our Covid-19 vaccine dashboard for updates on the launch of the vaccination program and the rate of coronavirus cases in Ireland Bill Gates warns the risk of new variants could mean “we haven’t seen the worst” of a pandemic

Fry Electronics Team

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