Bill Gates warns of more fatal Covid variant, calls for global surveillance
London, May 2 (IANS) Billionaire Bill Gates has warned that Covid pandemic is far from over, with the worst remaining yet to unfold.
Stressing on the need for increasing global surveillance, the Microsoft founder and philanthropist warned of the likelihood of an even more fatal and transmissive variant of Covid, the Financial Times reported.
Gates stated that even though he does not want to sound gloomy, yet the risk of a more virulent variant is more than 5 per cent.
"We're still at risk of this pandemic generating a variant that would be even more transmissive and even more fatal," he was quoted as saying.
"It's not likely, I don't want to be a voice of doom and gloom, but it's way above a 5 per cent risk that this pandemic, we haven't even seen the worst of it," he added.
This is not the first time that Gates warned of a potential global threat posed by viruses.
In 2015, he first cautioned publicly that the "world was not ready for the inevitable next pandemic" and that viruses, not war, pose the greatest risk of "global catastrophe".
Gates also called for renewed efforts with greater investments into global surveillance of viruses, which has been paused by a number of countries in the wake of decline in Covid cases. Gates has also written a book on How to Prevent the Next Pandemic.
He has urged for the creation of a team of international experts ranging from epidemiologists to computer modellers to quickly spot global health threats and improve coordination between the countries. According to him, this would cost around $1bn, which would be managed by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the report said.
Amid the war between Russia and Ukraine, Gates urged global leaders not to lose sight of the health crisis. He called for greater investment to prevent future pandemics. He also argued for an urgent need for longer-lasting vaccines that blocked infection, stressing that the current pandemic still posed a threat.