The Microsoft co-founder cited spring as the key checkpoint, writing in his year-end blog post published in December. He has also heaped praise on the scientific community for its progress with vaccines.
Mr Gates wrote: “Although there will still need to be some restrictions (on big public gatherings, for example), the number of cases and deaths will start to go down a lot—at least in wealthy countries—and life will be much closer to normal than it is now.”
In an upbeat op-ed, Mr Gates praised scientists for the speed with which they developed multiple vaccines to combat the coronavirus.
He described himself as being “stunned” at what had been achieved within the space of a year. “Humans have never made more progress on any disease in a year than the world did on COVID-19 this year,” he said.
“Under normal circumstances, creating a vaccine can take 10 years. “This time, multiple vaccines were created in less than one year.”
There are currently five vaccines available and in use – Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Sputnik V and CoronaVac.
Three of the vaccines (Pfizer, Modern and Sputnik V) have around 90 percent efficacy; AstraZeneca has approximately 70 percent and as yet there is no precise information on the Chinese CoronaVac.
Researchers in Brazil initially said it was 78 percent effective in their clinical trials, but in January 2021 revised that figure to 50.4 percent after including more data in their calculations.
Mr Gates urged that there could be no let up in the fight against the coronavirus and called for better tests with faster results. His private office, Gates Ventures, is funding the Seattle
Coronavirus Assessment Network’s free at-home test for COVID-19.
This is an unobtrusive and easy to use test, which works by swabbing the tip of the nose. Mr Gates is also rolling out the test in San Francisco.
He wrote: “What’s important about the Seattle and San Francisco projects is that they’re helping researchers see how the virus spreads.
“And in the future, the system for sending out and processing test kits will be useful for detecting other new pathogens that might arise.”
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