/// Interview: Bill Gates Talks About Tech Innovations for Vaccines Ahead of Global Confab

April 19, 2013  |  All Things Digital

Earlier today, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates discussed technological innovations for vaccines, ahead of a Global Vaccine Summit being held next week in Abu Dhabi. Set during World Immunization Week, 300 people — including Gates, who is co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and who will be delivering a keynote address — will gather on April 24 and 25 to talk about what the world community needs to do move forward the effort to vaccinate children, including a plan to eradicate polio by 2018. It’s an important effort since, according to the Gates Foundation, every 20 seconds one child dies from a disease that could have been prevented by an existing vaccine. “The key thing to understand is that vaccines are miraculous,” said Gates in a roundtable telephone interview with several reporters, noting that they are low-cost in relation to the huge benefit they provide. Two key next steps, he said, have to do with a variety of technologies that are being explored to help in the delivery of vaccines, and also finding ways to make them cheaper. “There is an under-investment in general, particularly in doing things for the poorest,” he said, requiring his private organization and others to pay for the research or to work with big pharmaceutical companies to create technologies that can also be deployed in more lucrative ways in rich countries. “Usually, there is a missing market incentive.” Still, there is innovation in the sector, even if it is slow. Gates referenced a “super-thermos” approach that is being field-tested in Senegal that keeps vaccines cold without needing more energy. Another effort is under way to formulate vaccines so that they do not need to be kept cold in the first place. A third is to combine several vaccines together to get the prices down

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Interview: Bill Gates Talks About Tech Innovations for Vaccines Ahead of Global Confab

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