Bill Gates wrote a book with American confidence called “How to Prevent the Next Pandemic”. Do the billionaire’s proposals really have substance? Anja Brown of the Science Editorial Team at SWR.
Concrete plans to prevent further epidemics
Microsoft founder Bill Gates’ new book is published by Piper Verlag, as is his previous work “How to Prevent Climate Catastrophe”. Im neuen Werk legt der Multimilliardär, dem Verschwörungstheoretiker unterstellen, er wolle die Weltherrschaft erreichen, indem er die Menschen durch den Corona-Impfstoff untertan und steuerbar macht, einen detail wasliertene covid plan vor, die-19 he is.
Well written book with a few anecdotes
The 66-year-old billionaire’s book on preventing future pandemics is written in a way that is easy to understand. It is easy to read, also due to its relaxed American writing style. Bill Gates continues to add a few anecdotes and stories symbolizing his theses and dilute the facts and materials presented on the topic of the pandemic. For example, the story of the accidental discovery of the fever reducer paracetamol for the development of the Covid drug Baxilovide.
Scientifically based analysis
His analysis of the epidemiological situation is largely consistent with what is being requested by scientists around the world. They recently summarized what is important to prevent the next pandemic in a public article in Science. Specifically, to follow the evolution of variants, especially the coronavirus and some other respiratory viruses. Also invest in developing more effective vaccines that have a wider range and protect against more coronaviruses and their variants at the same time.
Meanwhile, build a global vaccination infrastructure or improve existing infrastructure. Furthermore, creating a database containing potential antiviral agents in order to respond more quickly to a new disease in the event of a crisis.
All this can also be found in Bill Gates’ book, which is no wonder, because prevention is an important pillar of the health work of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Back in 2014, shortly after the Ebola outbreak, Bill Gates warned that the world was too ill-prepared for epidemics.
International teams will be formed to prevent epidemics
Now the billionaire is giving us his plan on how to make sure that the Corona pandemic is indeed the last. The key point is to put together a pandemic prevention team. Similar to the fire department, this task force aims to provide a kind of permanent, on-call service – with representatives in major cities around the world.
Gates wrote that the first 100 days after each outbreak decide whether a virus will become a pandemic. This protective team is called GERM – in German pathogens. The letters are abbreviations for Jmy world HEpidemic sresponse and MComplexity which in turn means: monitoring of outbreaks, rapid intervention, research and expansion of health systems.
Last April, Gates announced the idea of a globally organized mobile intervention force against epidemics at TED, an elite ideas conference in Vancouver, Canada. The force is said to consist of 3,000 experts – from the fields of epidemiology, genetics, drug and vaccine development, data systems, diplomacy, rapid response, logistics, computer modeling and communications.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is a financial superpower in global health
The whole thing would cost US$1 billion annually. Gates believes that this is what should be good for us to prevent further epidemics. The intervention force must be under the authority of the World Health Organization (WHO). Critics now accuse Bill Gates of using the foundation’s assets primarily to influence global health with his – often neoliberal – ideas. And it’s true: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has had an enormous impact. It’s a kind of financial superpower in global health.
The foundation is now the second largest donor to the World Health Organization, and Germany is the largest. Since its inception in 2000, the Gates Foundation has distributed more than $60 billion. It spends about $2 billion annually on global healthcare. And yes, Bill Gates also makes money from it: he is involved in the International Vaccine Alliances and in all the organizations supporting the global vaccination program against the Corona pandemic.
billion for global health
The billionaire then makes the income available to the foundation, which uses it to fund other health programs. This way he can actually control which projects are undertaken and which ideas and concepts of global health will eventually prevail.
But despite all the criticism, I’m – to be honest – very happy that this billionaire from the tech scene has chosen improving global health as a source of meaning. Otherwise, things will look much bleaker in this area as the government continues to withdraw – but that’s another discussion.
Bill Gates: How do we prevent the next pandemic?
It will be published by Piper Verlag on 3 May 2022. Translated by: Karlheinz Dürr, Ursula Held, Karsten Petersen, Cornelia Stoll. 336 pages, hardcover with dust jacket.
24.00 EUR [D]24.70 euros [A]