Innovation Key to Stop COVID-19: Bill GatesBy MBN Staff | Fri, 04/24/2020 - 13:46
Back in 2015, Bill Gates said in a TED Talk: "We are not prepared for the next epidemic. The greatest risk of global catastrophe will come in the form of viruses. It will not be missiles but microbes." The billionaire warned that humanity had invested "very little" in systems that could contain the next pandemic and that a failure in preparation could make it "dramatic, more devastating than Ebola." Apparently, he was right.
Now, in the face of the pandemic unleashed by COVID-19, which is collapsing health systems, businesses and the world economy, the founder of Microsoft wrote yesterday in a blog his recommendations to overcome this crisis. The answer, in summary, is innovation. To enable people to resume their activities and revive the economy, Bill Gates' proposed measures focus on testing, contact tracing, digital tools and vaccine development.
The billionaire says people with COVID-19 need to be "quickly spotted and intervened early." Innovation here translates to tests that people can carry out from their homes as if it were a pregnancy test. "You would blow your nose, but instead of sending it (the nasal flow) to a processing center, you would put it in a liquid that you would later pour on paper, which would change its color if the virus is present," Gates explained in the blog.
Once the person knows they are infected, health authorities need to know who they had contact with.
The use of technology is important. Gates highlighted the use of smartphones, which can track a person's movements and provide information about the presence of the virus. On April 10, Apple and Google announced a system for tracking the spread of the virus, allowing users to share data through Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) transmissions and approved apps from health organizations.
Finding a Vaccine
Microsoft's ex-CEO proposes that governments determine a strategy to distribute the vaccine, even before it is finalized. Seventy companies are working to produce a vaccine, the World Health Organization (WHO) said. But public health officials have said it is going to take at least 12 to 18 months to find it.