The Microsoft co-founder was hosting a special dinner for scientists from his foundation last February, when he was informed that his 2015 health crisis prediction was about to become horribly true. The software billionaire became famous for predicting a health pandemic caused by a respiratory virus at a TED media conference six years ago. In a speech titled ‘The next outbreak? We’re not ready’, Mr Gates stressed that it would be the emergence of a new virus and not war that would wipe out millions of human beings.
He said: “If anything kills over 10 million people in the next few decades, it’s likely to be a highly infectious virus rather than a war.
“Not missiles, but microbes.”
During an interview with The Times, Mr Gates recalled the terrible moment he realised he was about to be proven right.
He told journalist Decca Aitkenhead: “They (the scientists) said to me: ‘There’s no way this will be contained.
“‘Look, it’s just too transmissive. This will spread globally.’
“And I said: ‘Really? Wow!’ So Valentine’s Day was when the alarms started ringing and we created the task force and started spending money.
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His foundation has helped finance research into HIV and malaria vaccines, making him something of an expert on vaccine development.
Mr Gates has recently published a new book on climate change, where he tries to outline solutions to fighting global warming.
He has warned that climate change will cause much more destruction and death to human life than the current pandemic.