Bill Gates has warned that tens of millions of people could die in a global pandemic within the next 15 years.
The richest man in the world warned world leaders in Munich on Saturday about the threat of biological warfare which he believes is not being taken seriously enough by world governments.
During his speech at a Munich security conference, Gates said the international community needed to prepare for epidemics the way the military prepared for war, saying that bioterrorism could wipe out far more people than nuclear weapons.
Press TV reports:
“The next epidemic could originate on the computer screen of a terrorist intent on using genetic engineering to create a synthetic version of the smallpox virus … or a super contagious and deadly strain of the flu,” said the American genius.
He said that getting ready for the deadly pandemic is every bit as important as nuclear deterrence.
“With nuclear weapons, you’d think you would probably stop after killing 100 million. Smallpox won’t stop. Because the population is naive, and there are no real preparations. That, if it got out and spread, would be a larger number,” he argued.
“Whether it occurs by a quirk of nature or at the hand of terrorist, epidemiologists say a fast-moving airborne pathogen could kill more than 30 million people in less than a year,” Gates told the Munich gathering. “And they say there is a reasonable probability the world will experience such an outbreak in the next 10 to 15 years.”
Gates, who has spent much of the last 20 years funding a global health campaign, said advances in biotechnology, new vaccines and drugs could help prevent epidemics spreading out of control.
“Most of the things we need to do to protect against a naturally occurring pandemic are the same things we must prepare for an intentional biological attack,” he explained, calling on the international community to get prepared for the epidemics the way the military prepared for war.
“This includes germ games and other preparedness exercises so we can better understand how diseases will spread, how people will respond in a panic and how to deal with things like overloaded highways and communications systems,” he added.
He said last year’s Zika virus outbreak and the 2014 catastrophe of Ebola epidemic showed the governments are still not strong enough for responding to emergencies.