‘Most treatments will fail, Gates writes, but some, like those using antibodies and plasma, may show promise after clinical trials, while others, like hydroxychloroquine, appear to offer modest benefits at best.
Increased testing, aided by new rapid and self-administered diagnostics, will be extremely important, he writes, as will increased contact tracing through digital tools and a national database.
The process of finding a safe vaccine—which typically takes five years—will be hastened, but the goal of vaccinating the global population also hinges on manufacturing capabilities, which will likely be taxed by demand, according to Gates.
The stakes are high, Gates notes, as “every additional month that it takes to produce a vaccine is a month in which the economy cannot completely return to normal.”
While waiting for a vaccine, countries should strive to provide activities that “benefit to the economy or human welfare but pose a small risk of infection,” a tactic that will require trial and error.
This approach leaves many activities, like church services and high school sports, in a “grey area” where the risk may or may not prove acceptable.
“The economic cost that has been paid to reduce the infection rate is unprecedented . . . It is important to realize that this is not just the result of government policies restricting activities. When people hear that an infectious disease is spreading widely, they change their behavior. There was never a choice to have the strong economy of 2019 in 2020,” Gates wrote.’