Bill Gates says billions will be spent on ultimately abandoned coronavirus vaccine efforts

Software giant and philanthropist Bill Gates said Thursday that in an effort to speed the development of a vaccine to fight the coronavirus, billions of dollars will be spent on efforts that are ultimately abandoned in favor of more promising ones.

In an interview with “The Daily Show” host Trevor NoahTrevor Noah'Daily Show' pledges 'brand new look and feel' when it returns from summer hiatus Amazon takes big step in e-book deal with libraries, but activists seek more Ted Cruz, Trevor Noah get into Twitter spat: 'I remember when the Daily Show was funny' MORE, Gates said that, instead of first homing in on one of seven different "vaccine constructs," plans are in place to build factories for all seven, even though only one or two will eventually come to fruition.

Earlier in the pandemic, both Gates and his wife, Melinda Gates, donated $100 million to fight COVID-19 through their eponymous foundation, which works on fighting infectious diseases around the globe. 


“It seems, though, that money isn’t able to fix this problem," Noah said. "It seems like governments around the world are trying everything they can, but it doesn’t seem like it can be fixed. What are you hoping to achieve in this moment in time?” 

“Governments will eventually come up with lots of money for these things, but they don’t know where to direct it, they can’t move as quickly," Bill Gates replied.

He said that the biggest issue right now is the American health care system’s access to testing in order to pinpoint who has the disease and who does not. He added, however, that the money he has pledged can “help accelerate things” right now.

“We did fund some things to be more prepared, like a vaccine effort,” Bill Gates said. 

"So for example there’s — of all the vaccine constructs, the seven most promising of those — even though we’ll end up picking at most two of them — we’re gonna fund factories for all seven," he said.

“To get to the best case, that people like myself and Dr. [Anthony] Fauci are saying is about 18 months, we need to do safety and efficacy and build manufacturing. … And so we’ll abandon — you know, it will be a few billion dollars we’ll waste on manufacturing for the constructs that don’t get picked because something else is better,” Gates continued. 


Medical professionals at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine announced Thursday that they have produced a coronavirus vaccine that has undergone peer review and is showing promise in mice. 

The vaccine is just the fourth potentially viable candidate known to be produced, though major companies such as Johnson & Johnson have claimed promising candidates. 

The coronavirus has infected over 1 million people globally, and the number of confirmed cases in the United States has reached over 245,000, claiming at least 6,000 lives.