Story at a glance
- Gates said that at most his foundation would end up picking two out of the seven vaccine candidates.
- That means billions of dollars spent on manufacturing would be abandoned.
- He said it’s worth it, as the world is in a situation where the economy is losing trillions of dollars.
Microsoft founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates said his foundation is funding the construction of factories that will manufacture seven promising coronavirus vaccines.
In a clip released from Friday’s episode of The Daily Show, Gates said his foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is moving forward with building manufacturing capacity for the seven vaccine candidates to save time, as the novel coronavirus continues to spread throughout the world.
“Even though we’ll end up picking at most two of them, we’re going to fund factories for all seven just so we don’t waste time in serially saying ‘ok which vaccine works’ and then building the factory,” Gates told The Daily Show host Trevor Noah.
“It’ll be a few billion dollars we’ll waste on manufacturing for the constructs that don’t get picked because something else is better. But a few billion in this situation we’re in, where there’s trillions of dollars...being lost economically, it is worth it,” Gates said.
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Gates said testing and building the manufacturing capacity at the same time is essential in developing a vaccine in the 18-month timeframe. He commented on the current social distancing and stay-at-home measures occurring across the country, saying we’ll have a lot of unusual measures in place until “we get the world vaccinated,” adding, “that’s a tall order, but it’s where we need to get to.”
On Tuesday, Gates called for a nationwide shutdown in an op-ed in the Washington Post, arguing the U.S. needs to enforce stricter lockdown measures in every state.
The number of coronavirus cases worldwide topped one million Thursday, and more than 55,000 deaths have been reported, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The U.S. leads the world in cases, with more than 245,000.
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