Bill Gates, co-founder of the world’s largest PC software company Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), said Saturday that a genetically engineered virus is dangerous than nuclear weapons, The Washington Post reported.
Speaking at the Munich Security Conference on Feb.18, Gates warned world leaders that bioterrorism could kill more people than nuclear weapons, and no country is ready for this.
“The next epidemic has a good chance of originating on a computer screen,” Gates.
The billionaire, who spends millions on welfare projects through his foundation, is concerned about biological tools that could be used by bioterrorists. At the same time, Gates believes that those tools can “can be used for good things as well.”
At the Munich Security Conference, Gates said that an outbreak, by the work of nature or the hands of a terrorist, could kill tens of millions in the near future. He urged governments to start preparations for “these epidemics the same way we prepare for war.”
In addition to Gates, other panelists including Norway Prime Minister Erna Solberg shared almost the same fears.
“Disease and violence are killing fewer people than ever before, but it’s spreading more quickly,” Solberg said. “We have forgotten how catastrophic those epidemics have been.”
If you remember, Ebola killed thousands of people two years ago. That is why Gates is worried. Are we ready to stop a deadly pandemic in the near future?
“NATO countries participate in joint exercises in which they work out logistics such as how fuel and food will be provided, what language they will speak, and what radio frequencies will be used,” Gates wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2015. “Few, if any, such measures are in place for response to an epidemic.”
Gates called for “germ games” simulations, monitoring tools to spot outbreaks early, and systems to develop vaccines within weeks. “We need a new arsenal of weapons, antiviral drugs, antibodies, vaccines and new diagnostics,” the billionaire said.
Did you know?
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists Anthrax, Botulism, Brucellosis, Plague, Smallpox, Tularemia, and Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers as bioterrorism agents.
Source: The Washington Post | Photo Credit. Creative Commons/ Red Maxwell @ Flickr