Bill Gates: 'We'd be lucky' to have coronavirus vaccine before end of 2020

Bill Gates: 'We'd be lucky' to have coronavirus vaccine before end of 2020
© getty: Bill Gates

Microsoft founder Bill Gates said in a new interview that the U.S. would be “lucky” to have a coronavirus vaccine by the end of the year.

The first vaccines, Gates told Bloomberg, “won’t be ideal in terms of its effectiveness against sickness and transmission. It may not have a long duration, and it will mainly be used in rich countries as a stopgap measure.”

“We’d be lucky to have much before the end of the year. But then, in 2021, a number of other vaccines are very likely to get approved,” he added. “With so many companies working on it, we can afford quite a few failures and still have something with low cost and long duration.”


Asked whether such a vaccine should be mandatory, Gates cautioned that imposing such a requirement “can often backfire.”

However, he added, “you might say that if you’re going to work in an old-folks home or have any exposure to elderly people, it would be required.”

Gates also expressed optimism that further therapeutic innovations would lead to a lower death rate even before a vaccine is finalized. However, he said, “the true end will come from the spread of natural infections and the vaccine giving us herd immunity. For rich countries, that will be sometime next year, ideally in the first half.”

Asked by the publication whether “we’re going to be OK,” Gates responded: “Certainly.”

“We’re lucky this one wasn’t a more fatal disease,” he added.

Gates on Sunday told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria that the U.S. response to the virus had been hamstrung by “testing insanity.”

“It’s mind-blowing that you can’t get the government to improve the testing because they just want to say how great it is,” he said. “I’ve said to them, look, have a [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] website that prioritizes who gets tested. Don’t reimburse any test where the result goes back after three days. You’re paying billions of dollars in this very inequitable way to get the most worthless testing results in the world.”

Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinWatchdog confirms State Dept. canceled award for journalist who criticized Trump Former intelligence agency director Robert Cardillo speaks out against 'erratic' Trump Kremlin: Putin calls for reset between US and Russia on cyber relations before elections MORE announced earlier this week that his country had become the first to grant regulatory approval for a COVID-19 vaccine. The claim was met by skepticism, since it has only been tested by human subjects for two months.