Bill Gates, the billionaire philanthropist who co-founded Microsoft has said he’s worried about the amount of coronavirus misinformation that’s out there.
Speaking to Radio 4’s Today programme ahead of his talk at the Gavi Global Vaccine Summit 2020 in London today, Gates indicated his frustration at those opposed to a vaccine.
‘It is troubling that in times like that, and accelerated by digital tools, there is so much craziness,’ he said.
‘Eventually when we have the vaccine, we will want to develop the herd immunity to have over 80% of the population taken.
‘If they have heard that it is a plot, or vaccines in general are bad, and we don’t have people willing to take the vaccine, then that will let the disease continue to kill people.
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‘So it is a bit worrying that there is some of that crazy stuff.’
Gates has become the centre of a coronavirus conspiracy theory suggesting he is loading tracking chips into vaccines.
‘I’m kind of surprised that some of that is focused on me,’ he said.
‘We are just giving money away to get there to be a tool – we just write cheques to pharma companies (and) we happen to have a lot of the smart pharmaceutical expertise in our foundation, and are considered a fair broker between governments and the companies to help pick the best approach.’
Since leaving Microsoft, Gates set up the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation with his wife and turned completely to philanthropy.
They have tackled the likes of polio and malaria around the world and warned for years about the dangers of infectious diseases.
Addressing a TED Talk five years ago, Gates, 64, warned the next ‘global catastrophe’ would not be caused by war, but by a virus.
He said: ‘If anything kills over 10 million people in the next few decades, it’s most likely to be a highly infectious virus rather than a war – not missiles, but microbes.’
‘Part of the reason for this is we have invested a huge amount in nuclear deterrents, but we’ve actually invested very little in a system to stop an epidemic.
‘We’re not ready for the next epidemic.’
Now the billionaire is doing what he can to fight the outbreak. He wrote there are currently six different efforts going on around the world to develop a coronavirus vaccine.
He will talk later today at the Global Vaccine Summit 2020 in London alongside Boris Johnson.
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