Bill Gates predicts “the end will come” for the COVID-19 pandemic, saying in an interview on Sunday that a return to normal will arrive next year.
“We won’t have eradicated this disease, but we’ll be able to bring it down to very small numbers by the end of 2022,” Gates told the UK’s Sky News.
The Microsoft co-founder and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle has been heavily invested in the response to the pandemic in the U.S. and across the world. Gates has championed the need to make sure vaccines reach the developing world.
But Gates is facing criticism for his defense of patent protections on vaccine technologies, telling Sky News that sharing the “recipe” for vaccines would not be helpful.
“There’s only so many vaccine factories in the world and people are very serious about the safety of vaccines,” Gates said. “And so moving something that had never been done, moving a vaccine from say a J&J factory into a factory in India, it’s novel. It’s only because of our grants and expertise that that can happen at all.
“The thing that’s holding things back in this case is not intellectual property,” Gates continued. “It’s not like there’s some idle vaccine factory, with regulatory approval, that makes magically safe vaccines. You know, you’ve got to do the trial on these things. Every manufacturing process has to be looked at in a very careful way.”