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Bill Gates Warns About the Potential Damage of Bioterrorism

Jan 20, 2017 07:00 AM EST

During a panel at the World Economic Forum Davos, Switzerland, billionaire and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates urged governments and private organizations should start talking about the potential danger and damage of a bioterrorism attack.

Speaking about the dangers of both intentional and natural epidemics, Gates urged others to make substantial investments to prevent any act of bioterrorism from happening.

"What preparedness will look like for intentionally caused things, that need to be discussed," said Gates, as reported by Business Times. "It's very hard to rate the probability of bioterrorism, but the potential damage is very, very huge."

Bioterrorism is the act of using biological weapons, such as epidemics or genetic disorders, to intentionally kill or spread terror. Gates commented that an epidemic, either human-induced or naturally caused, could result to at least 10,000 excess deaths.

Gates has previously voiced out his concerns regarding the danger of bioterrorism. In the "Ask Me Anything" session of Reddit last year, Gates shared his concerns on how officials and researchers prevent a small group of terrorist from using biological means to kill millions of people.

"If Government does their best work they have a good chance of detecting it and stopping it but I don't think it is getting enough attention and I know I can't solve it," Gates shared during the Ask Me Anything session.

Bill Gates has been known as great contributor when it comes to financially assisting research regarding epidemics. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, together with governments of Japan, Germany and Norway and the Wellcome Trust, have initially invested $460 million to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). The main focus of CEPI is to prevent future epidemics by creating vaccines that could stop disease outbreaks.

In a previous report from New Yorker, Sam Altman, the president of the Silicon Valley startup accelerator program Y Combinator, seems to share the same concern as Gates. During his interview with Tad Friend, Altman shared that chance of a lethal synthetic virus being released in the next 20 years is non-zero.

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