Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates said on Sunday that a vaccine against the coronavirus could be manufactured in a year if all goes well, CNN reported. The philanthropist is funding production of the seven most promising ideas to manufacture a vaccine.
“If everything went perfectly, we’d be in scale manufacturing within a year,” Gates told CNN. “It could be as long as two years.”
Gates, the world’s second-richest man, said the production will probably not begin by September, as some people have speculated. “Dr Fauci and I have been fairly consistent to say 18 months to create expectations that are not too high,” Gates said, referring to Anthony Fauci, director of the United States National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House’s coronavirus task force.
United States President Donald Trump tweeted on Saturday that the country has so far conducted over 5 million (50 lakh) tests, more than any other country. However, Gates told CNN that the focus on number of tests is missing the bigger picture.
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“This focus on the number of tests understates the cacophony and the mistakes we’ve made in the testing system,” Gates said. “The wrong people are being tested, and any time you don’t get results in less than 24 hours, the value of the test is dramatically reduced.”
Gates also called for a phased reopening of the American economy. A lockdown has been imposed in the United States till April 31.
Gates also dismissed conspiracy theories that he had made large profits due to the pandemic. He called the accusations ironic since the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has spent decades funding and leading research into understanding and protecting against dangerous diseases.
The United States has reported over 9,65,000 cases of Covid-19, more than any other country, according to the Johns Hopkins University. Over 55,000 people have died.
Globally, over 29 lakh people have been infected with the coronavirus, and more than 2,06,000 killed.