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Bill Gates: ‘U.S. still has time to do a far, far better job’ on coronavirus

Gates went on to say that “now we’re engaged in something where we’re attacking the government’s top scientists” and “undermining the credibility of the person who’s the most knowledgeable,” referring to Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert.

President Donald Trump has undermined coronavirus warnings from health experts and his own administration since the early days of the pandemic. Trump has also repeatedly cast doubt on Fauci’s credibility in offering advice on the pandemic.

“Fortunately, Dr. Fauci has risen above the noise level, in talking about masks and best practices, and so the fact that they’re trying to undermine him for some reason, that just blows the mind,” Gates said on Tuesday.

Gates said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had also been targeted by the federal government and “not been allowed to speak out” since the start of the pandemic.

In early September, a Trump administration official pressured the CDC to alter a scientific report on the coronavirus. The president has also contradicted the CDC director on when a vaccine might become available.

“You couldn’t make a movie where the CDC was so undermined, that whether that director should stay in that job or not or just resign over it is a serious discussion,” Gates said.

When directly asked to grade Trump’s response to the pandemic, Gates criticized the administration for a lack of willingness to admit wrongdoing.

“Pretending that it’s just total lockdown versus total openness, that does no one any favors,” he said. “There are activities that should continue depending on your intensity. And let the experts articulate what’s going on here.”

But Gates also applauded the federal government for its $2 trillion economic stimulus package in March and the funding of research and trials for Covid-19 vaccines. He said the U.S. is “the exemplar” in this area, noting the nearly $10 billion that the White House’s Operation Warp Speed has thrown behind finding a vaccine and developing monoclonal antibody treatments.

Gates’ foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is a major funder of the World Health Organization and has given more than $350 million to support the global response to Covid-19.

Gates said the foundation is currently working on funding a second-generation set of vaccines and making deals with high-volume manufacturers that could lead to greater vaccine distribution globally.

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Bill Gates says Trump’s coronavirus treatment won’t work for everyone, shouldn’t be called ‘cure’

Microsoft co-founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates said Sunday that the Regeneron antibody cocktail administered to President Trump to treat a case of COVID-19 shouldn’t be referred to as a “cure.”

“The word ‘cure’ is inappropriate because it doesn’t work for everyone,” Gates told NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “But yes, of all the therapeutics, this is the most promising.”

Although an effective vaccine is an ultimate goal for putting an end to the pandemic, Gates noted that monoclonal antibodies allow for treatment that doesn’t require admission to a high percentage of the population.

“With the monoclonal antibodies, it’s only once somebody tests positive, show symptoms and they’re old enough they’re at risk,” Gates said. “That’s the target for this therapeutic.”

He added that if the monoclonal antibody treatments can be approved for an emergency use authorization in a timely manner, they will “save more lives than the vaccine will,” particularly if given in low doses.

“The president got eight grams and we’re trialing things that are down at more like 0.7 grams, and 0.3 grams,” Gates said. “Of course, that changes the cost and capacity a lot but that’s also unproven at this point, but it’s important that we explore.”


Gates is optimistic that antibody treatments, including those developed by Regeneron and Eli Lilly, could potentially earn an emergency use authorization within the next few months, but warned against the president’s recent push for the regulators to accelerate the approval timeline. 

“You don’t want politicians saying something should be approved because it’s wrong to think of political pressure as needing to be appropriate in these cases,” he said.

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As for vaccines, Gates said the majority of vaccines will likely get emergency use authorizations by early next year, with Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine potentially being an exception with a possible authorization by the end of this year.

“The phase three data is the key thing, particularly for the safety, making sure we’re not seeing side effects. So the tool is ramping up and, over the course of the first half of the year, those volumes will get to the point where we really will be asking Americans to, you know, step forward,” Gates said. “The effectiveness could range, you know, could be as low as 50% or as high as 80 [percent] or 90% and, different of the vaccines, some will fail completely and others will hit a very high bar. But we don’t know yet.”

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He added that almost all of the vaccines will

Bill Gates on Trump virus treatment: The word ‘cure’ is inappropriate because it won’t work for everyone

Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates said Sunday that the monoclonal antibodies treatment President TrumpDonald John TrumpNorth Korea unveils large intercontinental ballistic missile at military parade Trump no longer considered a risk to transmit COVID-19, doctor says New ad from Trump campaign features Fauci MORE received for his coronavirus infection is not a “cure,” but is the most promising option thus far.

“The word ‘cure’ is inappropriate because it won’t work for everyone,” Gates said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “But of all the therapeutics, this is the most promising.”

Gates added that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has “been working with companies doing antibodies, we reserved factory capacity back in the spring, and now we’re partnered with Eli Lilly, who with Regeneron, has been the fastest to get these antibodies ready.”

“They could reduce the death rate quite a bit … adding this to the tools would be a great thing,” he added.

“They call them therapeutic, but to me it wasn’t therapeutic,” Trump said in a video he tweeted last week, five days after receiving the experimental treatment from the biotech company Regeneron

Trump said that he felt better immediately after taking the drugs.

“I call that a cure,” he said. “It’s a cure.”

Bill Gates on Sunday also warned against politicians opening large venues without social-distancing measures.

“I guess politicians will show what their value system is there,” he said. “Society should be able to have things like schooling that get a priority, vs. certain more entertainment-related things.”

“The only way we’ll get completely back to normal is by having … a vaccine that is super effective and that a lot of the people take,” he said.

Gates went on to express confidence that ” it’s likely that by early next year that several of these vaccines” currently in development “will get that emergency-use authorization.”

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Bill Gates Says Antibody Drugs Could Sharply Reduce Covid-19 Death Rate

Antibody drugs that are in testing and were administered to President Trump could significantly reduce the death rate from Covid-19 once they are approved by regulators and more widely available, billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates said Tuesday.

The drugs, in a class of medicines known as monoclonal antibodies, have shown promise in early-stage patients with Covid-19. “That’s actually pretty exciting,” Mr. Gates told The Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Summit. “The reduction in death rate there could be pretty high, and those will be out in volume by the end of the year, at least in the rich countries.”

The drugs, developed by

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc.,

Eli Lilly

and others, are designed in laboratories to mimic antibodies that the immune system produces to fight off viruses and other pathogens. They are injected intravenously and have the potential to work soon after a person is infected and only mildly ill. Scientists believe they also hold promise as a preventive tool, blocking infection temporarily.

President Trump received Regeneron’s antibody drug cocktail late last week under a compassionate use program.

Mr. Gates also expressed optimism about vaccines in development. An effective vaccine could help return life to “pretty close to normal” by late next year in the developed world, he said. Eliminating or stopping virus transmission completely would take two to three years, he said.

Progress on both drugs and vaccines will take longer in the developing world, he said, emphasizing a divide that his foundation and other global players are seeking to close.

Some public health experts are concerned that misinformation, along with any rush by governments to approve vaccines before testing is complete, will make people hesitant to receive one. If only a small percentage of populations are vaccinated, the new coronavirus will continue to spread.

Covid-19 has put a spotlight on how misinformation on social media can be harmful. Bill Gates discusses why and how to best control it, at the WSJ CEO Council Summit. Photo: Qin Lang/Xinhua via ZUMA Wire

Mr. Gates said U.S. political and business leaders should speak out and help explain the value and safety of the vaccines to their constituents and employees, to lead by example and ease concerns. For example, he said, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation worked with religious leaders in northern Nigeria to persuade parents to allow their children to be vaccinated against polio.

“Here in the U.S., we should already be thinking about which voices will help reduce the hesitancy,” he said.

“The CDC that normally speaks out on these things hasn’t yet had that much visibility,” he added, referring to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If the data on the safety and efficacy of vaccines are clear, he said, “I think enough people will be interested and then you’ll build up that confidence as more and more people are taking the vaccine and getting good results.”

The Microsoft co-founder acknowledged that misinformation amplifies quickly on digital platforms, and said he doesn’t yet see a solution.

Covid-19 Medical