According to the Financial Times, Bill Gates, the Microsoft CEO and philanthropist, has called for a global response team to perform surveillance of pathogens that might ring in the next epidemic.
Gates has been warned about an imminent pandemic and the need to prepare ourselves to face it long before COVID-19 began. He has been very vocal about the long delays involved in the vaccine development process, and the lack of equity in vaccination distribution in the world. So far, he has also been correct about the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic and has implemented strategies in his new book.
How to prevent the next pandemic?
Gates has urged nations to increase their spending on health and improve coordination between them in order to prevent global health issues. In response to the launch of this new book, Gates said, countries may lose sight of the health issue that isn''t yet over due to recent events such as the war in Ukraine.
Gates had stated that Omicron might be the most powerful component of the pandemic, and recently told FT that he might sound like a tense semblance; however, there was still possibility that the current pandemic might produce a new variant that was more transmissive and even more fatal.
Gates has proposed the Global Epidemic Response and Mobilization (GERM) initiative, which includes international experts, from computer scientists to epidemiologists. The group would identify global threats and enhance coordination among nations to combat such threats.
Led by World Health Organization (WHO)
Gates'' proposal for this initiative comes after his assertion that the WHO had less than ten full-time employees on epidemic readiness, and even those were distracted by other activities. The global health agency has faced a flaw in its handling of the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak and is failing to respond appropriately to the risks posed by the spread of the virus.
Gates claimed that an initiative like GERM must be overseen by the WHO. Gates said a "top-notch" GERM team might cost $1 billion to operate every year, but the money was minimal compared to the benefit it offered. Gates also called for a reduction in budgetary allocation for health in national budgets as well as contributions to the WHO''s functioning.