PALO ALTO, Calif. (KGO) -- Wednesday, philanthropist and global health advocate Bill Gates opened up about the COVID-19 crisis.
In a streamed conversation with Lloyd Minor M.D., Dean of Medicine at Stanford University, Gates talked politics, missed opportunities, and his hope for vaccines, treatments and improved testing.
Here's a look at their conversation:
Lloyd Minor: Without using too much hindsight, where did we go wrong?
Bill Gates: In the title of my TED talk was, "We're not ready for the next pandemic." I wrote at that time in the New England Journal of Medicine about how we could get antivirals or antibodies, or high skilled, molecular testing available. And sadly, not that much was done been, you know, pitching to various leaders, including the current president, my first meeting, so they're more really talking about this topic. Sadly, it got more into "do vaccines work at all?" But that's another discussion. So we have a lot of vaccines underway. The ones that really count are the ones that are going to go through a gold standard regulator, which would be the U.S. FDA or the European regulators. All the countries of the world actually look at those as the kind of blessing they want before their populations, enthusiastic, say, "Okay, this is quite safe."
Lloyd Minor: What will be critically important in once a vaccine is shown to be safe and is available, is getting people to use it.
Bill Gates: I mean, after all, in this epidemic. Sadly, the boundary between what's the regulator and what's the politicians has been broken. My hope is that there's 20 to 30% of the population that will be willing to take the vaccine fairly early on knowing that they're helping their fellow citizens by the transmission blocking benefit that the vaccine brings.
Lloyd Minor: Will that also help to combat the misinformation and conspiracy theories that have been particularly prominent during this pandemic?
Bill Gates: Ah, you know, by demonizing Dr. Fauci or myself, who are the two most prominently mentioned in some of these inaccurate theories. It could drive people to not wear masks as much or not being willing to seek out the vaccine. Now we have to offset that by being creative about the truthful message, you know, the heroes who invent the vaccine, the facts about how the safety trials have been done, uh, you know, so we got, we're going to have to push ourselves on that."
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