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    Bill Gates: Hope the world learns from the pandemic and is better prepared next time

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    Bill Gates: Hope the world learns from the pandemic and is better prepared next time

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    Bill Gates said the timing of the Russia-Ukraine War is very unfortunate as money that would have otherwise be spent on the pandemic, vaccinations and rehabilitation is instead going towards countries shielding themselves from the fallout of the conflict. 

    Bill Gates, the co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has expressed hope that the world has learnt a lesson or two from the coronavirus pandemic and that we are better prepared next time.
    In an exclusive interview with CNBC-TV18's Shereen Bhan, Gates said next time, by being prepared, the world will be able to stop a disease from spreading to billions of people.
    "That dialogue has started but not gotten as far as I would have hoped," Gates said, explaining, "The US CDC did not do a great job handling this pandemic. And so they're going through some reform and reorganisation to get their act together. And I think their voice, as they regroup, will be important. It's a credible voice despite the mistakes they've made."
    He said the timing of the Russia-Ukraine War is very unfortunate as money that would have otherwise be spent on the pandemic, vaccinations and rehabilitation is instead going towards countries shielding themselves from the fallout of the conflict.

    "At meetings like the G7, where pandemic preparedness should be the top of the list, it's pushed down because of the dire circumstances around the war," he explained.

    Gates, however, said he believes the world is rational enough to cobble a plan together. "There's lots of ideas out of India of what went well — ramping up vaccine manufacturing, the distribution, you know, getting money out to people who needed it. But we're, we're a little slower to focus on this than I would have expected," he added.

    Gates was widely criticised for asserting that vaccine patents should not be lifted around the time the many countries were reeling from the devastating second wave of the pandemic. Gates says he stands by that, and that any delay in getting vaccines around the world was not due to intellectual property  (IP) rights.
    "The Gates Foundation makes sure that IP never stands in the way of low-income countries, we are the best at getting vaccine prices down. And we make sure there's lots of competition in that market. We make sure it's tiered pricing. IP did not delay vaccines. AstraZeneca was going out to everyone and saying if you have any capacity with no royalty, make this (vaccine). There are issues around IP but in the COVID vaccine case, because of great work by AstraZeneca, Serum Institute and many others, in no way did that delay the vaccine, so it's just a mistake to connect those issues," he said.
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