This timeline shows how covid grew and continued accelerating across the world. Many now believe that we’re on the home stretch and covid will soon be gone. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Between human behavior and new variants, we have many more cases in our future.
Rather than being the time to slow down our efforts, now is the time for global mobilization to prepare for the next pandemic. The concept of Covid-21 is not inconceivable, especially as mutations are occurring at a rapid pace. But even without new variants, we are still living in the highly globalized world where our supply chains for food and other products put us in situations where zoonosis, the transfer of diseases from animals to humans, becomes ever more likely.
I had the opportunity to meet with dozens of innovative companies who have come up with novel methods for faster and cheaper testing for the Covid-19 virus. Many of these companies were repurposing technologies they had been working on for other diseases, but found that with minor modifications, they could also apply to Covid-19.
The next virus may be far more deadly and spread more quickly. We were lucky this time in some ways, and need to learn from what has happened globally with the early detection, testing and diagnostics, vaccine development and therapeutics. The time to invest in these technologies is now, not when we have another, perhaps even faster spreading virus infecting the world.
Bill Gates outlines the steps that we need to take to prepare for the next pandemic in this short video.