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Billionaire Philanthropist Bill Gates warns that World is ‘Vulnerable’ to Deadly Epidemic of diseases like Ebola and Zika

Bill Gates also raised concerns over growing antimicrobial resistance to drugs, saying the success of antibiotics had created complacency

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Businessman Bill Gates exits through the lobby at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York City, Dec. 13, 2016. (VOA)

Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates warned on Friday that the world was vulnerable to a deadly epidemic of an illness like flu, with the recent Ebola and Zika outbreaks underlining weaknesses in global efforts to tackle health crises swiftly.

Gates, whose foundation invests in improving healthcare in developing countries, said the global emergency response system was not strong enough and the ability to create new drugs and vaccines quickly was lacking.

He added that there needed to be more focus on developing treatments for likely epidemics.

“I cross my fingers all the time that some epidemic like a big flu doesn’t come along in the next 10 years,” Microsoft Corp founder Gates told Britain’s BBC radio.

“I do think we will have much better medical tools, much better response, but we are a bit vulnerable right now if something spread very quickly, like a flu, that was quite fatal.”

But Gates defended the World Health Organization (WHO) over widespread criticism of its handling of the 2014 Ebola crisis that killed thousands in west Africa, saying the agency was neither funded, nor staffed, to meet all the expectations.

He also raised concerns over growing antimicrobial resistance to drugs, saying the success of antibiotics had created complacency.

The misuse and overuse of antibiotics is accelerating antimicrobial resistance which is already complicating efforts to treat tuberculosis, HIV and malaria.

Gates said richer countries must help developing nations tackle disease, both for humanitarian reasons and for their own self-interest.

He said international co-operation had almost succeeded in wiping out polio which remains endemic only in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

If there are no new cases in the next three years polio will become the second human disease to be eradicated after smallpox in 1980.

“We’re very close. Hopefully, the last case will be some time next year,” Gates said.(VOA)

  • Ranger

    How does a philanthropist keep getting richer and richer? Bill Gates 73 Billion in 2015 @ 100 Billion in 2016

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U.S. Regulators Approve New Tuberculosis Drug that Shows Dramatic Results

The new drug, Pretomanid, was developed by the nonprofit TB Alliance

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FILE - A tuberculosis patient receives treatment at a clinic in Jakarta, Indonesia. VOA

U.S. regulators Wednesday approved a new tuberculosis drug that when taken with two other medicines shows dramatic results.

The new drug, Pretomanid, was developed by the nonprofit TB Alliance.

A study shows that when taken with taken with two other drugs. Pretomanid cured 90% of patients suffering from a strain of TB that is resistant to other treatments.

The study shows the three-drug cocktail can cure TB in about six months and can also stop patients from spreading the disease in just a few days.

US, Tuberculosis, Drug
U.S. regulators Wednesday approved a new tuberculosis drug that when taken with two other medicines shows dramatic results. Pixabay

Most current TB treatments require patients to take multiple numbers of pills and months of very painful daily shots. This treatment of pills and shots can last as long as two years. Doctors say many patients either give up first or die.

Also Read- The Effectiveness of Gong Conversation Intelligence

Tuberculosis generally attacks the lungs and is spread when someone with the infection sneezes or coughs. It kills about 1.6 million people every year worldwide. (VOA)