Microsoft’s famous co-founder believes that there is one global risk the world must be bracing for: bioterrorism.
Speaking at the Munich Security Conference in Germany on Saturday, tech industry icon and philanthropist Bill Gates warned that bioterrorism is “right up there with nuclear war and climate change.”
Gates, known for his interest and investment in health initiatives, said that it is now necessary for the world to prepare for the next pandemic.
“Whether it occurs by a quirk of nature or at the hand of a terrorist, epidemiologists say a fast-moving airborne pathogen could kill more than 30 million people in less than a year,” he said in his speech. “And they say there is a reasonable probability the world will experience such an outbreak in the next 10 to 15 years.”
According to Gates, the most recent pandemic was even more fatal than the example he provided. A naturally-occurring flu outbreak in 1918 claimed the lives of about 50 million to 100 million people.
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He highlighted, however, that modern technology can help prevent such a large-scale death toll.
“The good news is that with advances in biotechnology, new vaccines and drugs can help prevent epidemics from spreading out of control,” he said.
Research and development into preventative measures, however, requires funding.
“I’m optimistic that a decade from now, we can be much better prepared for a lethal epidemic if we’re willing to put a fraction of what we spend on defense budgets and new weapons systems into epidemic readiness,” Gates maintained.
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