Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates recently hit out at Tesla boss Elon Musk, suggesting he should perhaps focus on making electric vehicles and rockets rather than the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
In an appearance on CNBC’s Squawk Box, Gates called Musk’s comments about the coronavirus pandemic “outrageous”. Gates said, “Elon’s positioning is to maintain a high level of outrageous comments.” The Tesla boss has made the news for all the wrong reasons, ever since the pandemic hit the US.
In the past, Musk suggested that deaths have been overcounted and lockdowns may not have been necessary. He even said that California’s approach to combating COVID-19 was “fascist”. The Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist had pointed out that misinformation travels faster than facts on social media.
Gates said, “When you let people communicate, you have to deal with the fact that certain incorrect things that are very titillating can spread very rapidly compared to the truth. And we’ve always seen that with vaccines.”
Gates, who has been the subject of several conspiracy theories, said, “ To the degree to which these media companies can see what’s being said on their platform and take things that are absolutely wrong and get rid of those things or slow those things down, that’s very tough.”
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.