It is not often that something affecting us and on our minds in South East Asia is also having that same effect in the Middle East, South America, China and the list goes on. That is the nature of Covid-19 and its widespread impact on all of us.
For the months and months, the world has been battling the disease but the question remains – When will Covid-19 end, if ever? Is it just hopeful insanity to believe a vaccine could be created within the next year or two?
As per usual, estimates on when a vaccine will be created, let alone distributed exceedingly vary.
“The innovation pipeline on scaling up diagnostics, on new therapeutics, on vaccines is actually quite impressive,” Gates told Wired magazine in an interview published Friday.
“And that makes me feel like, for the rich world, we should largely be able to end this thing by the end of 2021, and for the world at large by the end of 2022.”
If Gates is right, the prediction will set progress made in poor, developing countries back by many years, slowing economic growth and in progress in ending malaria, polio and HIV.
Recently, Gates has been the object or voodoo doll in many conspiracy theories, both in the mainstream and darker web. Being the face of the public health battle makes him an easy target for this.
One of the biggest reasons theorists single him out is for the 2015 Ted Talk he gave in Vancouver in which he presciently predicted the coronavirus outbreak. Based on this, theorists believe Gates released the virus strain into the world. His advice came unheeded at the time and like an episode of the Simpsons, acted as pretty good foreshadowing for what was to come.
“If anything kills over 10 million people over the next few decades, it is likely to be a highly infectious virus rather than war,” he told the audience.
Innovation and research into a vaccine is ongoing but due to limits of scale and manufacturing, Gates believes that the vaccine will likely only reach rich countries.
“It’s because of innovation that you don’t have to contemplate an even sadder statement, which is that this thing will be raging for five years until natural immunity is our only hope,” Gates said.
“This disease, from both the animal data and the phase 1 data, seems to be very vaccine-preventable.”
As for those who have already contracted the disease, treatments such as remdesivir and the corticosteroid dexamethasone have alleviated a lot of the suffering.
“Other antivirals are two to three months away,” he said.
“Antibodies are two to three months away. We’ve had about a factor-of-two improvement in hospital outcomes already, and that’s with just remdesivir and dexamethasone. These other things will be additive to that.”
All this goes to mean Malaysia will probably be one of the latter countries to receive the vaccine but still considering how we’ve dealt with the virus so far – it shouldn’t be a problem.