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Bill Gates says coronavirus vaccines might be different from flu shots in one big way

Published Jul 27th, 2020 10:58AM EDT

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  • Bill Gates believes a coronavirus vaccine will likely require people to take two doses.
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci recently said that a coronavirus vaccine, even if approved this year, won’t become widely available until 2021.
  • Early trials of potential coronavirus vaccine candidates have been promising.

While Bill Gates may not be the first person you’d think to turn to for guidance during a global pandemic, the Microsoft founder has become something of an authority figure — or at the very least, a voice of reason — on a number of coronavirus issues. And with good reason, Gates in recent years stepped away from the nuts and bolts of the tech world and has since immersed himself with any number of philanthropic causes. To that end, Gates during a TED Talk a few years ago accurately and eerily predicted that the next global catastrophe wouldn’t come in the form of a world war, but rather a highly infectious virus.

At the time, Gates cautioned that countries across the world weren’t taking sufficient safety measures to prepare for a global pandemic.

“If anything kills over 10 million people in the next few decades, it’s most likely to be a highly infectious virus rather than a war,” Gates said five years ago. “Not missiles, but microbes. Now, part of the reason for this is that we’ve invested a huge amount in nuclear deterrents. But we’ve actually invested very little in a system to stop an epidemic. We’re not ready for the next epidemic.”

Flash forward five years and Gates’ remarks have, sadly enough, proven to be prophetic. The coronavirus pandemic earlier this year caught the entire world off-guard, and the United States in particular has struggled to keep it at bay.

While social distancing and mask-wearing can help quite a bit, many researchers and health professionals believe that we’ll only be able to move past the coronavirus once an effective vaccine is developed. To that end, some early clinical trials involving potential vaccine candidates have yielded some promising results. Still, we’ll have to wait for the results from more widespread trials before getting our hopes up.

With respect to vaccines, Gates recently sat down for an interview with CBS News and explained that an effective coronavirus vaccine would likely require individuals to take multiple doses.

“There will be a lot of uncertainty about how good these vaccines are,” Gates said, “you know the first-generation they said may have a 50% effectiveness and they wont know the duration there. So these will likely be partial solutions that will improve over time. So it’s too bad people think that Phase 3 approval will be the end of the epidemic.

“None of the vaccines at this point appear like they’ll work with a single dose,” Gates added. “That was the hope at the very beginning. Maybe one of them particularly in the second generation will surprise us. We hope just two. Although, in the elderly, sometimes i t takes more. And so, making sure we have lots of elderly people in the trial will give us that data.”

Incidentally, the vaccine Moderna is working on will require two doses spread out over the course of a month.

Gates’ full interview, which is incredibly informative and thought provoking, can be seen below:

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.