Microsoft founder Bill Gates believes that availing coronavirus vaccine to the “highest bidder” rather than to the people who need them the most will only cause further devastation as the pandemic could be deadlier in that case.

Gates’ comments came during a remote COVID-19 conference hosted by the International AIDS Society. He emphasized that any treatment for COVID-19 or coronavirus vaccine should be first distributed to the high-risk groups and people who need them the most and not to the “highest bidder” in the market.

“If we just let drugs and vaccines go to the highest bidder, instead of to the people and the places where they are most needed, we’ll have a longer, more unjust deadlier pandemic,” he said during the conference.

He urged the importance of having world leaders who are capable of deciding to distribute any COVID-19 treatment or vaccine based on equity and not just on factors derived by the market.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are about 21 coronavirus vaccines that are being tested in humans globally. Out of these, three COVID-19 vaccines are in late-stage Phase 3 clinical trials in humans.

COVID-19 vaccine candidates are being developed and tested by scientists and pharmaceutical companies from around the world. As the teams are getting closer to a breakthrough, concerns have arisen about whether rich nations with powerful companies and strong financial backing will receive the coronavirus vaccine first as compared to poorer or developing nations.

Several healthcare experts have called out for the need to declare any potential coronavirus vaccine candidate as a public property so that it is accessible to everyone.

Gates emphasized that the success of any program in combating a pandemic is to make the treatment and vaccine distribution system available for everyone. He said that battle against HIV/AIDS that was initiated 20 years ago can serve as a model for COVID-19 response and making the drug available to all equally.

“When we have those things, nations, institutions and advocates working together on this collective response, we do see remarkable impact,” he said.

As of today, three coronavirus vaccines by pharmaceutical companies Moderna in the U.S., AstraZeneca in the U.K. and Sinovac Biotech in China are leading the global race in COVID-19 vaccine development.

Pfizer is also working on the testing of its potential coronavirus vaccine. So far, the vaccine has generated an immune response in volunteers, however, it has also led to side effects such as fever.

Bill Gates
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and wife Melinda announced their divorce. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

© 2023 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.