Bill Gates urges world leaders to use 'germ games' to prepare for bioterrorist attacks
It's a bit like The Hunger Games - but with diseases
Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft and the fourth richest person in the world, has warned of future bioterrorist attacks and urged leaders to use "germ games" to prepare for them.
During a new interview Gates has urged world governments to get ready for future pandemics and potential smallpox terror attacks by investing billions in R&D, reports Sky News.
In conversation with Jeremy Hunt, the chair of the Health Select Committee, earlier this week, Gates, 66, suggested that "germ games" could be used to practice and prepare for such events.
During the discussion, he also called for the formation of a new billion-dollar World Health Organisation-fronted Pandemic Task Force.
"It'll take probably about a billion a year for a pandemic Task Force at the WHO level, which is doing the surveillance and actually doing what I call 'germ games' where you practice," he said.
"You say, OK, what if a bioterrorist brought smallpox to 10 airports? You know, how would the world respond to that?
"There's naturally-caused epidemics and bioterrorism-caused epidemics that could even be way worse than what we experienced today and yet, the advances in medical science should give us tools that, you know, we could do dramatically better."
He said that, although the likes of the UK and US will have to spend billions, the eventual payoff could eradicate everything from the flu to the common cold.
He continued: "The nice thing is a lot of the R&D we need to do to be ready for the next pandemic are things like making vaccines cheap, having big factories, eradicating the flu, getting rid of the common cold, making vaccines just a little patch you put on your arm, [are] things that will be incredibly beneficial even in the years when we don't have pandemics."
As part of his future work, Gates said he will be focusing a lot on pandemic preparations.
"So along with the climate message and the ongoing fight against diseases of the poor, pandemic preparedness is something I'll be talking about a lot.
"And I think it'll find fertile ground because, you know, we lost trillions of dollars and millions of lives and citizens expect their governments not to let that happen again."
- Respiratory illnesses could claim 60,000 lives this winter as flu jab campaign launched
- Here we go again - the government says book your Xmas party. What's 'Plan B'?
- Dominic Cummings calls Boris Johnson a "joke" over Coronavirus handling