A universal flu vaccine is being developed, thanks to a mammoth donation from Microsoft founder Bill Gates.
Flu strains have become more powerful and dangerous over recent years, with death tolls rising as each winter passes.
Gates addressed the issue of the ongoing spread of flu and other similar viruses at the annual meeting of the Massachusetts Medical Society in Boston, Massachusetts on April 27th.
“Given the continual emergence of new pathogens, the increasing risk of a bio-terror attack, and how connected our world is through air travel, there is a significant probability of a large and lethal, modern-day pandemic occurring in our lifetimes,” Bill Gates, April 2018.
In recent months, Gates has arranged meetings with President Trump to address his concerns relating to bioterrorism and virus-led pandemics. “I think we’ve got to push this … with the executive branch and Congress quite a bit,” Gates told the Washington Post. “There hasn’t been a big effort along these lines.”
“This could be an important first step if the White House and Congress use the opportunity to articulate and embrace a leadership role for the U.S.,” he added in his speech yesterday.
All of this sounds a little ominous, but the good news stems from the fact that, while he waits for governmental support and assistance, Gates has pledged $12 million of his own money (as part of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in partnership with Lucy and Larry Page) to get the process started. This donation will be used to create a universal flu vaccine.
“The world needs to prepare for pandemics the way the military prepares for war.” added Gates. It is thought that an effective vaccine could save up to 30 million lives, should an outbreak occur.