Finest hour

Finest hour

In these anxious times, donors and philanthropists will be called upon to fill gaps not covered by governments for those in need. Billionaires have come under criticism in recent years. Their fast response to Covid-19 could be their finest hour.

One of the most active advocates for epidemic preparedness is Bill Gates, see his 2015 TED Talk. While there was little apparent take-up on the concerns, Bill Gates personally funded epidemic research including the Seattle Flu Study.

The Seattle Flu Study pivoted to Covid-19 in January. Battling red tape, it expects to have home-test kits soon. Wouldn't it be wonderful if these could be delivered and picked up by Amazon? 

Now Gates, joined by Bezos, the UK Wellcome Foundation, Mastercard Foundation and many others likely to join are committing US$125m to fund Covid research and a vaccine. In Gates' article in New England Journal of Medicine, a vaccine may be ready for larger-scale trials by June - far earlier than other experts expect.

Philanthropy can respond faster than other organizations. Effective, smart giving could reduce strain on health care services, reduce exposure, slow transmission, and save lives.

Today with Covid 19, this is a bright light of hope. Give thanks for Bill's brain.


Learn more: 

Bill Gates, 45 minute conversation with TED's Chris Anderson "How we must respond to the COVID-19 pandemic", TED Connects, March 2020

Bill Gates, A Coronavirus Ask Me Anything with Bill Gates, 31 questions and answers about COVID-19, March 19, 2020

GatesNotes "We're not ready for the next epidemic. But we can get there", March 18, 2015

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