Famous tech pioneer Bill Gates warned that the world would be woefully unprepared if we were to face another flu pandemic.
Gates also stated that he thinks the next decade will be a critical one when it comes to the spread of viruses and pandemics, particularly in developing countries.
The rise of superbugs, or antibiotic resistant diseases, may also cause severe problems for scientists and the general public alike.
To support his theory Gates cited the recent outbreaks of Zika and Ebola, which he says only highlighted how unprepared major health organizations were to tackle a more severe pandemic, especially in a timely manner to minimize deaths.
As a guest on the United Kingdom’s Radio 4, co-hosted by guest host Dame Sally Davies, the chief medical officer for England, Gates elaborated on his stance:
“I cross my fingers all the time that some epidemic like a big flu doesn’t come along in the next 10 years.
I do think we will have much better medical tools, much better response, but we are a bit vulnerable right now if something spread very quickly like a flu that was quite fatal – that would be a tragedy and new approaches should allow us to reduce that risk a lot.”
In order to tackle an international problem, Gates also thinks that international cooperation would be key to eradicating illnesses that are on the rise or present a current threat.
“The cooperation that we have seen, I think, needs to intensify.
It’s the only way that global problems like epidemics will get solved and so [for] all the people who are negative on WHO, the message to take away from that is not that that kind of multilateral cooperative effort is doomed and the money is not well spent, rather that we actually need to broaden their capacity. We actually need to dedicate ourselves to this global cooperation.”
According to current data, 700,000 people die from antibiotic resistant infections each year, which could rise if international communities do not work together to do something about this problem.
In Europe, for example, it was also reported that illnesses resistant to all antibiotics, except last resort drugs, were currently on the rise.
Written by Fiona Miller