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Bill Gates says there should be a widely available vaccine by the end of 2021.
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Everyone wants to know when the coronavirus crisis will end, and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has an idea. However, its estimate will depend on whether you live in developing countries or in more affluent countries like the United States.
"The innovation pipeline to expand diagnostics, new therapeutics and vaccines is really impressive," Gates said in an interview published on Friday in relation to Wired magazine. "And that makes me feel like we should be largely able to finish this thing for the rich world by the end of 2021 and for the whole world by the end of 2022."
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Gates, who funds medical research and vaccination programs through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is not a Pollyanna. He recognizes that the outbreak has set countries of all sizes back in terms of economic growth and advances in fighting malaria, polio and HIV, even if his forecast is met.
In the interview, Gates has harsh words for the US test system and is frustrated with how President Donald Trump and his administration have dealt with the situation. This isn't new – Gates wasn't afraid to talk about the US response to the virus.The high number of coronavirus cases in the US is due to a lack of testing and contact tracing, as well as resistance to wearing face masks. Gates himself was a target for conspiracy theories and falsehoods about the virus.
However, Gates believes that a vaccine will eventually be made and notes that some of the vaccines under development are likely to only help in more affluent countries due to size and manufacturing issues.
"Innovation doesn't require an even saddest statement to be made. This will rage for five years until natural immunity is our only hope," said Gates. "This disease appears to be very preventable with vaccines from both animal and phase 1 data."
In terms of treating those who already have the disease, Gates spoke highly of antiviral drugsand the corticosteroid dexamethasone.
"Other antivirals are two to three months away," he said. "Antibodies are two to three months away. We have already seen a two-fold improvement in hospital outcomes with just remdesivir and dexamethasone. These other things will help."
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