Bill Gates, co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Microsoft, weighs in on what he thinks the world is learning about pandemics from Covid-19 and what the role of the public and private sector is during circumstances like this.  Mar 27, 2020 – CNN

GATES: This will cost trillions of dollars. They just passed a two trillion dollar relief bill and now they’re talking about more. The kind of research to be ready for the next pandemic is a tens of billions number so it’ll look almost trivial compared to the price we’re paying now, and that price would have been a lot lower if the world was more prepared.”

CNN: Vaccines faster than 12-18 months?

GATES: To build vaccines in a somewhat different way- it’s an RNA platform that is very versatile. So the amount you have to change is very small. And you can build up your manufacturing so that it is available no matter what pathogen comes along that manufacturing capacity is there. And certain elements of how you go through regulatory approval because you are only changing one small piece you will have had many of these RNA vaccines approved. People understand the safety profiles. So that would mean that in the future, yes that timeline is less. Because you want things to be safe and vaccines actually can in weird cases do an enhancement of the disease you really need to test for that. And so, I don’t think we’ll get much below a year. We’ll challenge very smart people to work on that. But there, the tradeoff involved there is about how confident are you that when you’re going out and giving this, there are no side effects.

GATES: You really do need the preparedness system. There are literally millions of viruses out in animals. The number that cross over, like the flu does, is not very large, but that’s not very easy to predict… that’s outside of our ability, so we have to have the tools when it does cross over to see “wow” if you’re seeing human to human transmission, particularly respiratory transmission, then the world has to go on Red Alert, and parts of the world went on Red Alert in January, and parts did not.