Bill Gates calls for national tracking system, says effective COVID-19 vaccine is at least 18 months away
Early last month, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in partnership with Wellcome Trust and Mastercard, launched a $125 million Therapeutics Accelerator to combat coronavirus (COVID19) epidemic. Two days later, Gates stepped down from Microsoft and Berkshire Hathaway Boards to focus more time on philanthropic priorities. Since then, Microsoft Co-founder has been busy working with many organizations to find cure for the deadly coronavirus. Gates is one of the backers for a potential COVID-19 vaccine developed by Inovio Pharmaceuticals. The vaccine is now undergoing human testing. However, Gates said that an effective COVID-19 vaccine is at least 18 months away.
In the meantime, Gates is calling for a “national tracking system similar to South Korea, saying that “in Seattle, the [University of Washington] is providing thousands of tests per day but no one is connected to a national tracking system” and that “Whenever there is a positive test it should be seen to understand where the disease is and whether we need to strengthen the social distancing.” Gates made the statement during the reddit for an Ask Me Anything question and answer session. Late last month, Gates also calls for complete shutdown of the whole country to stop coronovirus spread.
Gates is not alone. Just last week, Google announced the launch of a new website that uses anonymous location data collected from users of Google products and services. However, the collection of users’ location data renew privacy concerns over how the search giant collects information about users’ locations. Many privacy watchdog groups have expressed concerns about the idea.
Bill Gates is also very optimistic about the cure for the deadly virus. In an interview with CNBC, Gates said therapeutic treatments for those sick with COVID-19 could begin to roll out within four to six months. He went on to say that it would likely take at least 18 months to develop a safe and effective vaccine.
Below is the video of his interview.