June 23, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic is unlike any other public health crisis the world has faced in recent years. As a result, many people are reasonably skeptical of a vaccine, as scientists have never developed one particularly for a coronavirus before. Despite this medical barrier, many scientists and experts are optimistic about the vaccine and its effectiveness.
Two of those optimists are Bill and Melinda Gates of the Gates Foundation. The pair has been proactive in their coronavirus response, donating more than $300 million through their foundation to facilitate research and coordinate a global response. Countries from around the world have worked together to develop a vaccine and are now working to coordinate distribution. Bill and Melinda Gates believe that the response they've seen will help finally contain the virus in 2021, they said in a conversation with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.
The Global Coordination to Respond to COVID-19 Is Unlike Anything Seen Before
One of the reasons the Gates family has so much optimism is because there has never been global coordination on a scale like this before. Typically, a country's own pharmaceutical companies will work on and develop their own vaccine and medicine, then sell it once it’s approved. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we're seeing countries work without borders, sharing research and developments to expedite the overall process.
“It's the pharmaceutical companies working together with scientists from all over the globe in a very coordinated fashion,” said Melinda Gates. “We have never seen the companies come together in this way. And also to be thinking ahead about manufacturing … not just for their own country or their own region, but for other places in the world.”
She added that the many conversations we’re having across the globe, as well as the way scientists are moving forward with the data as soon as they get it, is what makes her most optimistic about vaccination.
Additionally, global leaders have put aside differences to coordinate a response with one another. When a country helps a foreign neighbor coordinate its vaccination response, it benefits not only the home country but the entire world.
Melinda Gates noted that seeing global leaders come together has been another reason for her optimism. For example, “The European Commission did a huge pledging event for this vaccine alliance that we've been part of.”
“We have also witnessed money come together so that when the vaccine's ready to be administered, we can actually purchase the vaccine for the rest of the world — not just one country,” she said.