Bill Gates is funding new factories for potential coronavirus vaccines

By Isobel Asher Hamilton

April 8, 2020

Bill Gates. Image: REUTERS/Charles Platiau

Bill Gates is plugging money into building factories for seven promising coronavirus vaccine candidates, even though it will mean wasting billions of dollars.

On a recent episode of “The Daily Show,” the Microsoft billionaire told the host Trevor Noah that his philanthropic organisation, the Gates Foundation, could mobilise faster than governments to fight the coronavirus outbreak.

“Because our foundation has such deep expertise in infectious diseases, we’ve thought about the epidemic, we did fund some things to be more prepared, like a vaccine effort,” Gates said. “Our early money can accelerate things.”

Gates said he was picking the top seven vaccine candidates and building manufacturing capacity for them. “Even though we’ll end up picking at most two of them, we’re going to fund factories for all seven, just so that we don’t waste time in serially saying, ‘OK, which vaccine works?’ and then building the factory,” he said.

Coronavirus Covid-19 virus infection China Hubei Wuhan contagion spread economics dow jones S&P 500 stock market crash 1929 depression great recession
Gates has already pledged $100 million toward fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
Image: Gates Foundation

Gates said that simultaneously testing and building manufacturing capacity is essential to the quick development of a vaccine, which Gates thinks could take about 18 months.

In a Washington Post op-ed article published earlier this month, Gates said some of the top candidates required unique equipment.

“It’ll be a few billion dollars we’ll waste on manufacturing for the constructs that don’t get picked because something else is better,” Gates said in the clip. “But a few billion in this, the situation we’re in, where there’s trillions of dollars … being lost economically, it is worth it.”

The Gates Foundation “can get that bootstrapped and get it going and save months, because every month counts,” he added.

The Daily Show

@TheDailyShow

“We can save months, and every month counts.” @BillGates and Trevor discuss combating coronavirus tonight at 11/10c

Embedded video

4,490 people are talking about this

Gates and his wife, Melinda Gates, have already pledged $100 million toward fighting the coronavirus pandemic, including an effort to send at-home coronavirus test kits to people in Washington state.

In his Post op-ed article, Gates urged the government to enforce stricter lockdown measures in every state and estimated that the US would need another 10 weeks of nationwide shutdowns to effectively deal with the crisis.

This article is curated from the World Economic Forum website.

About the author
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
The Mandarin Premium

Insights & analysis that matter to you

Subscribe for only $5 a week

 

Get Premium Today