Bill Gates, Co-chair and trustee, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
In a 2015 TED Talk, Bill Gates famously warned that it was disease more than war that posed the greatest threat to human life—and now the thought leader asks us to again focus on what the future holds next. “In any crisis, leaders have two equally important responsibilities: Solve the immediate problem and keep it from happening again,” says Bill Gates in a letter to The New England Journal of Medicine. Gates proposes the COVID-19 pandemic and potential “once-in-a-century pathogen” is a case in point. “We need to save lives now while also improving the way we respond to outbreaks in general,” he says. “The first point is more pressing, but the second has crucial long-term consequences.”
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged up to $100 million to aid the global response and has said the foundation will spend billions on the COVID-19 vaccine effort. “Humankind has never had a more urgent task than creating broad immunity for coronavirus,” says Gates. “It’s going to require a global cooperative effort like the world has never seen. But I know we’ll get it done. There’s simply no alternative.”
A spotlight from our "Heroes of Hope" feature in The Hope Issue.
Photography by: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images