Bill Gates calls for stronger international efforts to prepare for next pandemic
Bill Gates has called for South Korea to further step up in international efforts to prevent infectious diseases such as Covid-19 as he stressed the need for the world to be better prepared for the next pandemic.
Speaking to South Korean politicians in Seoul, Microsoft founder Mr Gates called for stronger international cooperation, including efforts to develop vaccines that would be effective for a broader range of coronaviruses, to navigate what he described as a “crisis moment” in global health.
He said the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and South Korea’s government have committed to a partnership aimed at addressing health disparities between countries and supporting efforts to eradicate infectious diseases in the developing world.
He noted South Korea’s strength in public health tools, research and vaccine manufacturing and praised the country’s pledge to donate 200 million dollars (£166 million) to the UN-backed COVAX distribution programme that provides Covid-19 vaccines to lower-income nations.
“There’s a lot we need to do together – we need to reach deep, we need to build more partnership, we need to encourage the scientists,” Mr Gates said during his speech at the National Assembly.
“But I am confident that with these steps we can continue to radically improve global health, to cut the number of children dying in half again, to eradicate diseases like polio, measles and malaria, and improve the lives of all humans.”
Mr Gates later met business leaders to discuss further cooperation on health projects. SK Bioscience produces Covid-19 vaccines and has received funds from the Gates foundation to develop nasal sprays designed to help prevent coronavirus infections.
Mr Gates also met South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol on Tuesday.