On Friday, Bill Gates told an audience at the Munich Security Conference that the COVID-19 virus, especially Omicron, transfers some level of protection to individuals who test positive for the virus by means of “B cell and T cell immunity” and because of that, the world now has more COVID-19 vaccine supply than there are demands for it. But, regardless of the amount of available vaccines, Gates also predicted that it’s “too late” to meet the World Health Organization’s goal of vaccinating 70% of the world’s population by July of 2022. He also said that for the next pandemic, the goal should be to create vaccines in six months versus two years.
“This is, I know, a topic you’ve spoken on again and again, you were ahead of the curve prior to the beginning of this pandemic — where would assess in where we are today in beating COVID-19?” CNBC’s Hadley Beale, host of the panel, asked Gates, who was representing the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
“Well, you know, sadly, the virus itself — particularly the variant called Omicron — is a type of vaccine, that is, it creates both B cell and T cell immunity,” Gates replied, “And it’s done a better job of getting out to the world population than we have with vaccines.”
“If you do serosurveys in African countries, you get well over 80% of people have been exposed either to the vaccine or to various variants,” Gates added, referencing a kind of test that looks at blood results in a targeted population to determine if antibodies exist in that group. “And so what that does is it means the chance of severe disease — which is mainly associated with being elderly and having obesity or diabetes — those risks are now dramatically reduced because of that infection exposure.”
“It’s sad, we didn’t do a great job on therapeutics. Only here, two years in, do we have a good therapeutic,” he continued. “Vaccines, it took us two years to be at oversupply. Today, there are more vaccines than there are demand for vaccines. And, you know, that wasn’t true. Next time, we should try and make it — instead of two years — we should make it more like six months. Which certainly, some of the standardized platform approaches, including mRNA, would allow us to do that. It took us a lot longer this time than it should have.”
The Microsoft founder’s comments come as one scientific model for COVID-19 cases recently estimated that some 73% of Americans are currently immune to Omicron, and that figure could jump to 80% by the middle of next month, as reported by The Daily Wire. “About half of eligible Americans have received booster shots, there have been nearly 80 million confirmed infections overall and many more infections have never been reported,” the Associated Press also added.
In October, The Daily Wire reported that for the Delta variant, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study appeared to indicate that “natural immunity better protects against the Delta strain of COVID-19 than a vaccine.” However, The Daily Wire also reported on Wednesday that a new study has recently found that vaccine induce immunity had 17 times more protection than natural immunity:
Forty-one serum samples were taken from 33 donors, all with a documented history of COVID-19 infection, and compared to a sample of 28 donors who had all received two doses of either Pfizer or Moderna. Those who were vaccinated had a 16.8-fold increase in neutralizing antibodies when compared to the natural immunity group, and a 30.1-fold increase over another group who were newly-diagnosed COVID-19 patients.
When asked whether or not he believed the world could reach the WHO’s goal of vaccinating 70% of the population by mid-2022, Gates responded, “No, it’s too late. I mean, there’s a lot of diseases out there. That demand does not exist for that. I mean, countries should be able to set priorities.”
Bill Gates: Too late to vaccinate 70% of the world’s population pic.twitter.com/6vzeBj36Sv
— Wittgenstein (@backtolife_2022) February 18, 2022
Gates was joined by “Melanie Joly, Canada’s foreign affairs minister, Ann Linde, Sweden’s foreign affairs minister and Comfort Ero, CEO of the International Crisis Group. WHO Director-General.”
His comments can be seen in full here:
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