For the next pandemic, we’ll have gigantic mRNA factories in India: Bill Gates
Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, says the Delta variant will make it difficult for the world to end the pandemic by 2022, missing his last year’s estimate. In a telephone interview to TOI+, Gates spoke on a range of issues, from vaccinating the elderly to creating factory capacities large enough to supply vaccines for the entire world within 200 days. Excerpts:
Last year, you talked about the possibility of ending the coronavirus pandemic by 2022. Do you still think it’s possible?
Everyone has been surprised by the Delta variant and how transmissive it is. India was the first place where there was, tragically, explosive growth in cases. The number of cases has come down from that peak, but we have to get these vaccines out far more broadly than we have done so far.
The foundation is very proud that back in the spring of 2020 we got $300 million to Serum (Institute of India). Serum has executed very well on ramping up the volume, making really record numbers of vaccines. Now, we wish we'd have even more, but in the months ahead the numbers are going to go up quite a bit. Novavax will come into the picture. We’ll have Johnson & Johnson. We'll figure out what can be done with the booster. We're not quite sure about that right now, but that’s probably beneficial as we get into 2022.