Bill Gates says pandemic would unfold differently with treatment available sooner

Bill Gates

© APA | Bill Gates

# 16 April 2022 17:22 (UTC +04:00)

Microsoft founder Bill Gates believes that the fight against the coronavirus pandemic could have been more efficient and lives could be saved if scientists focused more on developing therapeutics alongside vaccines, APA reports citing Sputnik.

"The COVID-19 pandemic would look very different if scientists had been able to develop a treatment sooner. The death rates are likely to have been far lower, and it may have been harder for myths and misinformation to spread the way they did," Gates wrote in an opinion piece published by The New York Times on Friday.

The billionaire said that in the event of a similar pandemic, even if scientists manage to develop a vaccine in 100 days, it will take time to administer it to the population. Also, not everyone who has access to the vaccine will choose to take it, making the availability of therapeutics crucial, he wrote.

"In short, although therapeutics didn’t rescue us from Covid, they hold a lot of promise for saving lives and preventing future outbreaks from crippling health systems. But to make the most of that promise, the world needs to invest in the research and systems we’ll need to find treatments much faster," Gates stated, adding that this is why his foundation has supported the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator at US-based Duke University.

The billionaire suggested creating libraries of drug compounds for researchers to quickly find out if current treatments work against new pathogens, as well as to research ways of activating the so-called innate immunity, meaning the part of a person's immune system that is the first to react to a foreign presence in the organism.
Gates has been an active participant in the global effort to distribute COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines with his Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation working with the US-chaired Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator and the COVAX facility.