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The Five Areas of Innovation

Date: 07 May 2020

Bill Gates, a Billionaire philanthropist delineated in a blog post about the crucial steps required to stop the Covid-19 pandemic and how reopening of the economy can be planned.

Gates, in his blog said the world must focus on advancing its treatment, vaccines, testing procedures and contact tracing methods. He also focused on the need to carefully examine the new policies structured for opening up the global economies. He compared the COVID-19 pandemic to a zone of war.

Gates said, “During World War II, an amazing amount of innovation, including radar, reliable torpedoes, and code-breaking, helped end the war faster. This will be the same with the pandemic.” Gates expressed the spread of COVID-19 pandemic as a “nightmare scenario.”

According to Gates, ‘the five areas of innovation’ required to be emphasized on are:

Treatment:
Bill Gates acknowledged that though many treatments may have failed till present date, but he is optimistic about the lines of treatment that will be achieve success in reducing the burden of coronavirus. He said public will need a line of treatment that is 95% effective in order to feel safe and secured in public gatherings. Gates pointed towards the potential of using antibodies, antivirals and Hydroxychloroquine, which has attained some success rates in treating the patients with COVID-19.

Vaccines:
According to Gates, the only way for communities to return to some sense of normality is through a vaccine, and in his words “Short of a miracle treatment”. Conversely, he also notified that it generally takes a period of four to five years for developing a vaccination for any new disease to be brought in the market. He expressed his optimistic views about the development of a vaccine in 18 months, looking at the crucial health scenario at the global level. Though it could be as short as 9 months or even take up to two years for developing a vaccine, he said.

Testing Procedures:
Gates focused on the needs for prioritizing and speeding up the process of Covid-19 testing, so that one can have the results in a single day. He said all health workers should have easy accessibility to these tests. He suggested that asymptomatic people should wait for being tested and all symptomatic people be tested at priority basis. He further focused on having accessibility for taking tests at home for people to motivate people to come forward for testing along with not increasing extra burden on hospital administrations.

Contact tracing methods:
Gates mentioned in his blog that people who have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 should be prioritized for testing and self-isolating themselves. He believes that most countries should be following or should follow Germany’s contact-tracing lead method, which involves consultation of positive patents to have a tracing list and using the developed database for confirming the testing of leads on a priority bases to keep a check on the transmission and adversities related to their health.

Strategizing the reopening:
Gates believes that most developed nations have entered in the second phase of this pandemic. He stated according of the statics and his believes the world is in the state of ‘semi-normal’. Though people are still practicing social distancing in their daily life and should continue to do so until the vaccination is available in the market to cure this pandemic. He emphasized on the vitality of learning from one country to other that have strong testing methods in place and he suggested that every country should have a structured strategy plan regarding the reopening of its nation. Gates further mentioned that the administrations will have to make trade-offs based on the perils and benefits.

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