‘Billionaire Bill Gates continues to be one of the most outspoken public figures on the subject of coronavirus, which the Microsoft co-founder has dubbed “the first modern pandemic.”
Gates has also made it clear that he sees the pandemic as a “nightmare” and an era-defining event whose effects will linger for years. “It’s going to be awhile before things go back to normal,” Gates said in a new interview on Friday with NBC’s Savannah Guthrie on the “TODAY” show.
“I wish I could say that we’re halfway through. But I don’t think so,” Gates added.
That’s because the billionaire believes the United States is still several months, if not years, away from large-scale production of a coronavirus vaccine. Still, he is hopeful that a vaccine will arrive sooner, rather than later.
“Usually a vaccine takes over five years because you have many steps,” Gates said in the interview on Friday, noting that vaccine development starts with animal testing before moving on to human testing at larger and larger scales.
However, Gates added that he’s seen evidence to suggest that a coronavirus vaccine could be available within the government’s stated likely timeline of 18 to 24 months. “The best scientists [are] working hard on this,” Gates told Guthrie. “In fact, in the last few weeks I’ve seen signs that we may get to the optimistic side of that time projection” for a vaccine.’
Read more: Bill Gates: ‘I wish I could say that we’re halfway through’ coronavirus pandemic