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

Bill Gates, who has donated $1.75 billion to developing the COVID-19 vaccine and fighting the pandemic, said this week that while currently available vaccines prevent serious illness and death, they are not. not durable enough and should better prevent infection.

The Microsoft founder, whose Forbes net worth is $135.9 billion, made the comments during a Twitter chat with Devi Sridhar, chair of global public health at the School of Medicine. University of Edinburgh.

“The vaccines we have do prevent serious illness and death very well, but they lack two key elements,” Gates said to a question about what would make the biggest difference in ending the pandemic.

“First, they still allow ‘breakthrough’ infections and the duration seems to be limited. We need vaccines that prevent reinfection and last for 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 from the University of Copenhagen found that the rapid spread of the omicron variant, which is now responsible for 98.3% of new cases in the United States, according to the CDC, is likely due to its ability to better escape to the immunity afforded by vaccines and prior infection than previous variants.

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Gates noted that omicron will challenge health systems as it becomes the dominant strain in other countries around the world, but could allow health officials to start treating COVID-19 the same way they do. follow endemic viruses such as influenza.

“Once Omicron crosses a country, the rest of the year should see far fewer cases so Covid can be treated more like seasonal flu,” Gates said Tuesday.

An employee prepares a syringe with the Pfizer vaccine against the coronavirus and COVID-19 disease in a vaccination bus in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, November 23, 2021. Germany is battling the rising number of coronavirus infections.  (Kay Nietfeld/dpa via AP)

An employee prepares a syringe with the Pfizer vaccine against the coronavirus and COVID-19 disease in a vaccination bus in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, November 23, 2021. Germany is battling the rising number of coronavirus infections. (Kay Nietfeld/dpa via AP)

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez this week urged European leaders to start treating COVID-19 as an endemic virus instead of a pandemic, saying health officials in Spain will soon start tracking it in the same way. they do it for the flu.

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Nadhim Zahawi, Britain’s former minister for vaccine deployment and current education secretary, told Sky News on Sunday that he hopes the UK “will be one of the first major economies to show the world how you go from pandemic to endemic”.

Vials of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines are ready to be injected into medical personnel on Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Gates gave a prescient Ted Talk in 2015 warning of the threat of a pandemic, saying that if “anything kills more than 10 million people over the next few decades, it’s likely to be a highly infectious virus. rather than a war”.

His philanthropic 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 U.S. population over the age of 5 are fully immunized against COVID-19, and 79.2% have received at least one dose, CDC data shows. Of those who are fully vaccinated over 18 years of age, 39.8% received a booster dose.

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