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Bill Gates sounds the alarm on US coronavirus testing, rushing potential vaccine

'The majority of all US tests are completely garbage, wasted'

Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

Billionaire Bill Gates, one of the richest people in the world, explained this week that America coronavirus tests are inadequate and warned about the dangers of rushing vaccinations into the populace without proper testing.

Responding to a question about delayed COVID-19 testing results, Gates told Wired that American COVID testing is a deeply flawed system potentially plagued by greed.

"The majority of all US tests are completely garbage, wasted," Gates said. "If you don't care how late the date is and you reimburse at the same level, of course they're going to take every customer. Because they are making ridiculous money, and it's mostly rich people that are getting access to that. You have to have the reimbursement system pay a little bit extra for 24 hours, pay the normal fee for 48 hours, and pay nothing [if it isn't done by then]. And they will fix it overnight."

Coronavirus vaccine research. (THIBAULT SAVARY/AFP via Getty Images)

With regard to a vaccine for COVID-19, Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, expressed concern over rushing out a solution that did not undergo proper testing.

Gates was asked, "Are you concerned that in our rush to get a vaccine we are going to approve something that isn't safe and effective?"

He replied:

Yeah. In China and Russia they are moving full speed ahead. I bet there'll be some vaccines that will get out to lots of patients without the full regulatory review somewhere in the world. We probably need three or four months, no matter what, of phase 3 data, just to look for side effects. The FDA, to their credit, at least so far, is sticking to requiring proof of efficacy. So far they have behaved very professionally despite the political pressure.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Gates has shifted his focus to helping develop safe medical solutions that would be widely accessible.

Gates, for example, confirmed Friday that his foundation, the Bill & Melina Gates Foundation, would spend $150 million on providing the COVID-19 vaccine to poor communities should one be developed.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Gates is hoping to produce vaccine doses for as little as $3 per dose.

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