Health

Bill Gates says COVID-19 vaccines ‘missing two main things’

Bill Gates, who has donated $1.75 billion to develop a COVID-19 vaccine and fight the pandemic, said this week that while currently available vaccines prevent severe illness and death, they are not durable enough and should be better at preventing infection.

The Microsoft founder, who has a net worth of $135.9 billion, made the comments in a Twitter discussion with Devi Sridhar, head of global public health at the University of Edinburgh School of Medicine.

“The vaccines we have prevent severe disease and death very well but they are missing two main things,” Gates said Asked what would make the biggest difference in ending the pandemic.

“First, they still allow infection (“penetration”) and the duration appears to be limited. We need vaccines that prevent re-infection and have many years.”

Bill Gates speaks during the Global Investment Summit at the Science Museum on October 19, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Leon Neal – WPA Pool / Getty Images)

A recent study by the University of Copenhagen found that the rapid spread of the omicron variant, now responsible for 98.3% of new cases in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is likely due to its ability to better evade immunity provided by vaccines and previous infection by previous variables.

Pfizer says Omicron vaccine set to be ready by March

Gates noted that Omicron will challenge health systems as it has become the dominant strain in other countries around the world, but it may allow health officials to begin treating COVID-19 in the same way they track endemic viruses like influenza.

“Once Omicron passes a state, the rest of the year will see far fewer cases until Covid can be treated like seasonal flu,” Gates said on Tuesday.

An employee makes a syringe with the Pfizer vaccine against the coronavirus and COVID-19 on a vaccination bus in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, November 23, 2021. Germany battles rising numbers of coronavirus infections.  (Kay Nitfield/DPA via The Associated Press)

An employee makes a syringe with the Pfizer vaccine against the coronavirus and COVID-19 on a vaccination bus in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, November 23, 2021. Germany battles rising numbers of coronavirus infections. (Kay Nitfield/DPA via The Associated Press)

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez urged European leaders this week to start treating COVID-19 as an endemic virus rather than a pandemic, saying Spain’s health officials would soon start tracking it the same way they treat the flu.

The Gates of France’s $15 billion gift to the top of the list of 2021 donations

Nadim al-Zahawi, Britain’s former minister for vaccine deployment and current education minister, told Sky News on Sunday he hoped the UK would be “one of the first major economies to show the world how to go from pandemic to endemic”.

Vials of Pfizer-Bioantec’s COVID-19 vaccines are ready for injection at medical staff Sunday, December 20, 2020 (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Gates gave a Ted Talk in 2015 a warning about the risk of a pandemic, saying that “if anything kills more than 10 million people in the next few decades, it is likely to be a highly contagious virus rather than a war.”

His charitable organization, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has donated $1.75 billion to fight the pandemic and develop COVID-19 vaccines.

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About two-thirds of the US population over age 5 has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and 79.2% have received at least one dose, according to CDC data. Among those fully vaccinated over the age of 18 years, 39.8% received a booster dose.

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