Bill Gates has said the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines shows there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but warned Americans that there are a tough few months ahead.
In an interview on CNN over the weekend, Gates said that he’s optimistic that ‘almost all’ of the major vaccines currently undergoing clinical trials will be ready for use by February.
Two major vaccines are currently awaiting emergency FDA approval, with the expectation that the first doses will be made available by the end of the year, but Gates says that other, less well known candidates, should also be approved in the coming months.
Gates told Fareed Zakaria:
Almost all the vaccines will work and with very high efficacy levels.
I’m optimistic that by February it’s very likely that they’ll all prove very efficacious and safe.
The Microsoft co-founder’s comments proved pretty prophetic, with a third vaccine – developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca – publishing strong results from its phase three trials less than 24 hours later.
AstraZeneca reported that its vaccine successfully protected patients from Covid-19 in an average 70.4% of cases, rising to 90% when given in a lower dosage.
Critics have raised concerns about how these vaccines will be distributed worldwide, with some, like the one developed by Pfizer needing to be stored at very cold temperatures to avoid degrading. However Gates said he was optimistic that the issues shouldn’t prevent batches being rolled out as soon as possible.
In a slightly imperfect way, I do think the logistics will get solved,
Over time, we will get to that 70 percent-plus level that we need in order to stop the spread of the disease.
Despite the enthusiasm for a vaccine, Gates warned that Americans should not let their guard down because of the good news. With Thanksgiving fast approaching, he said that travelling to see family risked spreading the virus even further, and urged Americans to continue wearing a mask and social distancing until the vaccine rollout arrived.
Gates told CNN:
Try not to have your family be the last death in this pandemic because you’re willing to see it through until the spring, which is when the vaccine will really start to cut the numbers down
Over the weekend, the Covid-19 death toll in the United States passed 250,000.
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Topics: Technology, AstraZeneca, Bill Gates, BioNTech, Coronavirus, COVID vaccine, Now, Oxford University, Pfizer, Vaccines