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Bill Gates: Better response to epidemics needed


 

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The recent Ebola epidemic has demonstrated the need for better preparation for the possible emergence of an even more infectious disease, philanthropist and Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates wrote in a commentary in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The “problem,” Mr. Gates contended, was not the failure of one institution; instead, the Ebola epidemic represents a global failure on many levels. To effectively combat future epidemics, Mr. Gates, cochair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Seattle, recommended building a global warning and response system that is coordinated by a global institution and has enough power and funding to work effectively. That system would expand research and development, improve early warning systems, employ a dedicated corps of volunteers, work to improve health systems in lower-income countries, and hold regular preparedness exercises.

“An epidemic is one of the few catastrophes that could set the world back drastically in the next few decades. By building a global warning and response system, we can prepare for it and prevent millions of deaths,” Mr. Gates concluded.

Read the full article in the New England Journal of Medicine (doi:10.1056/NEJMp1502918).

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