Bill Gates is a man with a coronavirus plan: Simultaneously fund the development of seven different coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines to discover a fix as quickly as possible — even if it wastes billions of dollars.
The Microsoft co-founder revealed his intention while appearing on the Daily Show with Trevor Noah last week. Gates, one of the world’s richest people, left the boards of Microsoft and investment house Berkshire Hathaway in March to better focus on his philanthropic endeavours.
“Our early money can accelerate things. 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 which vaccine works and then building the factory,” said Gates.
The move represents a significant increase in coronavirus spending for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has already contributed hundreds of millions of dollars to COVID-19 research and development efforts worldwide.
At pixel time, there have been just under 1.3 million globally recorded COVID-19 cases, with over 70,000 deaths. Almost 272,000 people are considered to have recovered from the infectious flu-like disease.
Vaccines aside, Gates recently championed the importance of social distancing measures in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, which he referred to as a “nightmare scenario.” He even called for the US to impose nation-wide lockdown measures in a bid to flatten the curve even more.
Life-long Microsoft competitor Apple is also pitching in. TNW reported Monday that CEO Tim Cook pledged to ship one million face shields (designed by Apple) to medical workers every week.