Philanthropist Bill Gates on Friday urged wealthy nations to help low- and middle-income countries strengthen their health systems in hopes of slowing down the spread of coronavirus, which according to Gates started acting like a pathogen “once in the century” .
“By helping the countries of Africa and South Asia to prepare now” we can save lives and also slow the global circulation of this virus, “Gates, former president and CEO of Microsoft Corp, wrote in a New England editorial Journal of medicine.
The coronavirus novel that first surfaced in China and has now spread to 46 countries is much more difficult to block than similar viruses that have caused Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) or severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). ), wrote Gates. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has already promised $ 100 million to fight the epidemic.
Gates’ appeal was reiterated on Friday by the World Health Organization, which said the risk was very high that the virus would spread and have a global impact.
WHO implored governments to take action to contain the virus before it becomes widespread. Such actions could slow down the virus, giving nations more time to prepare, officials said.
“Health systems around the world are not ready,” said Dr. Mike Ryan, head of the WHO emergency program, at a press conference.
Gates said the world needs to invest in disease surveillance and better technology to accelerate the development of safe and effective vaccines and drugs.
In addition to technical solutions, Gates called for more diplomatic efforts to drive international collaboration and data sharing and an increase in public spending on drugs and vaccines that would give incentives to private companies to undertake such efforts.