Recently, Bill Gates wrote a paper published in The New England Journal of Medicine. In it, the Microsoft founder expressed concerns about the havoc awaiting us on the other side of Covid-19’s full maturity. Even in its infancy, the virus demonstrated incredible range. Health officials, economists, and political leaders all agree that our latest pandemic is a multifaceted existential crisis.
“In the past week, Covid-19 has started behaving a lot like the once-in-a-century pathogen we’ve been worried about. I hope it’s not that bad, but we should assume it will be until we know otherwise,” Gates wrote in the new paper.
The situation is developing at a breakneck pace. After months of indecision, The World Health Organization has officially recognized Covid-19 a pandemic.
Let’s assess the risks as we understand them thus far.
Covid-19 has a national mortality rate of roughly 3.4% and 15% of the individuals that received medical attention after exhibiting symptoms died of the illness around 14 days after receiving a diagnosis.
The virus has killed more than 4,000 people worldwide and placed more than 127,000 people in the hospital.
The researchers hope the virus is a seasonal one that will diminish as the temperature continues to rise.
On balance, prodromes appear five days after successful transmission, the most common of which include: runny nose sore throat, cough, fever and difficulty breathing.
Individuals with respiratory issues, diabetes, hypertension, advanced in age and a compromised immune system, appear to be particularly vulnerable.
According to a recent study, the Journal Hospital Infection Covid-19 can likely be eliminated by common household disinfectants.
Products composed of 62-71% ethanol, 0.5% hydrogen peroxide or 0.1 % sodium hypochlorite deactivate infectious organisms in under 60 seconds.
The virus can survive as a fomite for at least 24 hours on cardboard, but steel and plastic material can host Covid-19 for even longer
In a few weeks, vaccine trials will be administered to human models. If successful, U.S health officials will release the serum to the public in about 12 to 18 months.
“I would hope within a few weeks we may be able to make an announcement to you all that we’ve given the first shot to the first person,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, explained.
The experimental vaccine is composed of genetic material called messenger RNA (mRNA). The mRNA instructs cells on how to produce a protein that may be able to halt COVID-19’s viral progression.
“I want to make sure people understand, and I’ve said that over and over again, that does not mean we have a vaccine that we can use,” Fauci lamented. “We mean it’s record time to get it tested. It’s going to take a year to a year and a half to really know if it works.”
In order to mitigate the carnage in the meantime, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has donated $50 million to 12 pharmaceutical companies and biotech firms to determine clinical methods of reducing Covid-19’s spread.
“Viruses like COVID-19 spread rapidly, but the development of vaccines and treatments to stop them moves slowly,” Mark Suzman, chief executive officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said in a statement. “If we want to make the world safe from outbreaks like COVID-19, particularly for those most vulnerable, then we need to find a way to make research and development move faster. That requires governments, private enterprise, and philanthropic organizations to act quickly to fund R&D.”
We’re joining forces with @wellcometrust and @Mastercard to create the #COVID19 Therapeutics Accelerator to identify, assess, develop, and scale-up treatments to the epidemic. https://t.co/zWoOhq7aqM pic.twitter.com/q9aKjdIW2A
— Gates Foundation (@gatesfoundation) March 10, 2020