Bill Gates’ new book on epidemic prevention sparks controversy

Form a “epidemic prevention fire brigade” composed of 3,000 experts from around the world. This is Microsoft founder Bill Gates’ “prescription” for the new crown pneumonia epidemic and other global epidemics. In his new book, How to Prevent the Next Pandemic, published in May, Gates elaborated on his views. After the Chinese version of the book (pictured) was published in China, it attracted the attention of more readers. People can’t help but wonder, as a successful person in the IT field, is the “anti-epidemic prescription” given by Gates in the book scientific and effective? Is there operability? Some of his views have also sparked controversy.

In the book, Gates refers to the “epidemic fire brigade” as the “Global Epidemic Response and Mobilization” team (GERM) recruiting personnel with skills ranging from epidemiology, genetics, drug and vaccine development, computer modeling, and even diplomacy. With the help of the World Health Organization (WHO) and other agencies, this “fire brigade” can be on standby at any time, so as to make the fastest response to the outbreak anytime, anywhere. Gates believes that GERM costs about $1 billion a year, and in the absence of outbreaks, the team will work to strengthen the global anti-epidemic infrastructure to detect, monitor and suppress potential outbreaks, while conducting necessary training and training.

In his book, Gates recommends designing and agreeing on protocols for rapid and large-scale testing of specific anti-epidemic drugs and vaccines, so that specific drugs and vaccines can be quickly available for large-scale use in the event of an outbreak; he also hopes to improve vaccine manufacturing and distribution models, especially It is to strengthen the research and development of normal temperature vaccines, because it is difficult for many developing countries to promote mainstream low temperature vaccines on a large scale.

Gates called himself a “technological optimist”. In his book, he optimistically predicted that with the development and coverage of H-technological means such as “big data”, the global early warning and perception capabilities of the epidemic will be significantly improved, while medical and health fields will be significantly improved. Technological progress will greatly accelerate the research and development efficiency of vaccines and specific drugs. He even believes that in the near future, technological breakthroughs may give birth to a new broad-spectrum vaccine that “can deal with multiple epidemics with one shot”, which will help -Humanity responds more effectively to the next pandemic”.

Some people gave positive comments to Gates’ “prevention for epidemic prevention”. For example, “Publisher Weekly” praised Gates’ book as “thoughtful exploration” and “easy-to-understand science”, and specifically talked about the GERM plan “realistic and reasonable, sounding credible and feasible”. “New Scientist” called Gates’s proposal “could not be more timely”.

But many people pointed out that Gates’ “prescription” is not reliable. The famous writer Jim pointedly pointed out that the biggest selling point of Gates’ “prescription” is the strong intervention of the government and the “super multinational sector”, and especially emphasized that “this move will help achieve fairness and eliminate the inequality in epidemic prevention caused by the gap between the rich and the poor. “. However, if this “super intervention power” is handed over to the government, it will inevitably suppress the enthusiasm of the commercial sector and scientific research institutions to invest (because no matter how hard they work, they will not make money), thus affecting the effect of epidemic prevention; if this privilege is handed over to commercial institutions, How can the instinct of these institutions to make huge profits by virtue of their privileges can be suppressed?

Cohen, an economist at the University of Miami, also pointed out that Gates blindly “bragged” the energy of philanthropy in the book, but this “small advertisement” was unconvincing. The foundation’s philanthropy began, and it never solved any natural or social plague.” Cohen believes that Gates, intentionally or unintentionally, regards “profit from the epidemic” as “improper profit”, but in fact, only by allowing those who have truly developed the means to deal with the epidemic to gain major business returns can they encourage more human, material and financial resources Actively invest in the field of epidemic prevention.

Stevano, a London-based economist, pointed out that what really needs to be changed is the mechanism that makes the few get richer and richer, which is the root cause of “inequality in epidemic prevention”, and as a beneficiary of this mechanism, Ge In the book, Ts is deliberately trying to talk about him.

Some observers have pointed out that certain foundations are highly involved in the COVAX program, which aims to quickly deliver a Covid-19 vaccine to low- and middle-income countries, which is backed by the WHO and even the United Nations, but the end result is not ideal because “who?” Nor can it stop developed countries from hoarding large quantities of vaccines. “It is not enough to recognize what the collective good is, we must live in a political and economic system that encourages the realization of collective good, which Gates’ book avoids talking about, and is very secretive about his own practice.

Even a reviewer in The Economist magazine, which praised the book, couldn’t help but complain that Gates’ “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster,” published just over a year ago, has now jumped to another. One area published “How to Prevent the Next Pandemic”, and the “prescriptions” were exactly the same, “all are the intervention of powerful departments, big data and technological progress”, and they have also become bestsellers after a round of hype, ” Is this cure-all formula really effective?”

The comments of ordinary readers on the Amazon website are even more rude, with few positive comments. I am not a public health expert, and it is inappropriate to talk so eloquently about peddling ‘prescriptions’ for epidemic prevention.” Others analyzed its idea of ​​”relying on powerful departments and big data to intervene in epidemic prevention” from the perspective of technology and social ethics, pointing out that this approach “is easy to do evil with big data and open the door to convenience”, and Gates, as Microsoft’s de facto “big data” Being in charge”, naturally, it is inevitable that the melon field will be under the suspicion.

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