Bill Gates warns that we must prepare for biological terrorism
Bill Gates says it’s time to redirect some of the money the world spends on weapons to prepare us for an imminent threat: terrorists with pathogens.
He warns that the threat of biological terrorism is “alongside nuclear war and climate change.”
Gates spoke on Saturday at the Munich Security Conference in Germany, and a condensed transcript of his speech was published by Business Insider.
Microsoft’s billionaire co-founder now a philanthropist has invested heavily in health initiatives around the world and is now hoping to stimulate further investment in vaccines and medical research.
The statements of Bill Gates
He says that it is now necessary for the world to prepare itself for what he considers to be one of the greatest threats to existence: the next pandemic.
Whether it happens on a whim of nature or at the hands of a terrorist, epidemiologists say that a pathogen that is transmitted through the air could quickly kill 30 million people in less than a year, he said.
And they say there’s a reasonable chance the world will experience such an outbreak in the next 10 or 15 years.
The latest pandemic was even more deadly, Gates said. A flu outbreak, which occurred naturally, killed between 50 and 100 million people in 1918.
Gates says current technology can help prevent such a high number of casualties.
The good news is that with advances in biotechnology, new vaccines and medicines can help prevent epidemics from spreading uncontrollably, he said, but it does require funding for preventive research.
Bill Gates continued saying:
I am optimistic that in a decade we would be better prepared for a lethal epidemic if we are able to put a fraction of what we spend on military budgets and new weapons into epidemic preparedness, he said.