Not missiles, but microbes: the speech of Bill Gates


“The failure to prepare could allow the next epidemic to be dramatically more devastating than Ebola”. The philanthropist had already raised the alarm in 2015

“When I was a kid, the disaster we worried about most was a nuclear war. Today the greatest risk of global catastrophe doesn’t look like this. If anything kills over 10 million people in the next few decades, it’s most likely to be a highly infectious virus rather than a war”.

These are the words of Bill Gates chosen to start his TED talk in 2015.

The world has invested a huge amount in nuclear deterrents, but actually invested very little in a system to stop an epidemic. What is happening with the new coronavirus is a proof.

We can win this battle, we can build a really good response system. We have the benefits of science, technology and biology. So we can have tools, but those tools need to be put into an overall global health system.

There’s no need to panic, but we need to get going, because time is not on our side.