Bill Gates said COVID-19 vaccines are essential, but two key things are missing.
The founder of Microsoft also predicted that once Omicron passes, the coronavirus can be treated more like seasonal flu.
The founder of Microsoft and one of the men most concerned about the fight against coronavirus and infectious diseases referred in the last hours to the effectiveness of vaccines and how essential they were to combat the pandemic caused by COVID-19. Bill Gates referred to the importance of immunizers - without referring to any specific brand or source - but said that two factors should be taken into account for future developments.
"The vaccines that we have prevent severe illness and death very well, but they are missing two key things," said Gates - who donated nearly $ 2 billion for COVID-19 vaccines - when answering a question about what it would make the most significant difference in ending the pandemic as soon as possible.
Gates, confident that the vaccines did save the coronavirus from continuing to kill lives, noted, however: "First of all, they continue to allow infections, and the duration seems to be limited. We need vaccines that prevent reinfection and last for many years ."
One of the world's richest men, whose net worth Forbes estimates at $135.9 billion, commented in a Twitter debate with Devi Sridhar, professor of public health at the University of Edinburgh Medical School.
The global increase in cases driven by Omicron, more transmissible than other variants such as the previously dominant Delta, put the entire world on alert. However, the end of the pandemic could be closer than expected, Gates predicted.
In his conversation with Sridhar, the philanthropist and arduous defender of health in the population, he affirmed that he sees the light at the end of the tunnel. "As countries experience the Omicron wave, their health systems will be challenged. Most of the severe cases will be in unvaccinated people. Once Omicron passes through a country, fewer cases should be seen the rest of the year to treat COVID more like seasonal flu; Gates pointed out.
And he continued: "It is not likely that there is a more transmissible variant, but we were amazed during this pandemic. Ómicron will create a lot of immunity for at least the next year. "
He also warned that "we may have to apply doses of the COVID vaccine annually for some time." "Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (WHO director-general) has started the conversation about how to prevent the next pandemic, which is important," he stated.
The WHO chief told a press conference today that "while Ómicron causes less serious disease than Delta, it remains a dangerous virus, particularly for those who are not vaccinated."
"We must not allow this virus to travel free or wave the white flag, especially when so many people around the world remain unvaccinated," he said, adding that the "overwhelming majority" of people admitted to hospitals are not vaccinated.
"More transmission means more hospitalizations, more deaths, more people out of work, including teachers and health workers, and more risk of another variant emerging that is even more transmissible and more deadly than Omicron," warned Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
In November, Gates consulted about the end of the coronavirus pandemic and his forecasts. At the time, he said COVID-19 death and infection rates could drop below seasonal flu levels by mid-2022, as long as no dangerous new variants emerge, a response that aligns with his new sayings.
A time before, Gates also did not hesitate to warn that one of the new pandemics would be bioterrorism and that this threat would endanger the existence of the human race. For this reason, he urged all the governments of the world to invest billions in security against possible biological attacks perpetrated by terrorists.
The example I use is enlightening: "What if a bioterrorist carried smallpox to 10 airports? Do you know how the world would respond to that? There are epidemics caused naturally and epidemics caused by bioterrorism that could even be much worse than what we experience today", emphasized the tycoon in conversation with 'Policy Exchange. '
In this sense, the fourth wealthiest man in the world highlighted the importance of joint work that power countries should have and affirmed that cooperative work on the matter could promote scientific findings for the eradication of diseases. "The good thing is that a lot of the research and development that we need to do to be prepared for the next pandemic is things like making vaccines cheap, having big factories, eradicating the flu, getting rid of the common cold, making vaccines affordable. Just a little patch ... things that will be incredibly beneficial even in the years when we do not have pandemics, "he said.