İlknur Şebnem Öztemel-TDO-23.04.2017  Founder of The Microsoft, Bill Gates, warned that an outbreak of a lethal respiratory virus like smallpox would be more dangerous than even a nuclear attack, during his speech at theRoyal United Services Institute in London (RUSI). 

Gates, whose charity foundation funds research about quickly spotting outbreaks, said it was more important than ever to help foreign countries monitor diseases to prevent a global tragedy. He said “All these advances in biology have made it far easier for a terrorist to recreate smallpox, which is a highly fatal pathogen, where there is essentially no immunity remaining at this point’’. He added  “When you are thinking about things that could cause in excess of 10 million deaths, even something tragic like a nuclear weapons incident wouldn’t get to that level’’.

Last year the Nuffield Council on Bioethics warned that ‘garage scientists’ could unleash dangerous genetically modified organisms into the environment using unregulated technology which is already available online. Chemistry kits which allow genetic editing can already be bought online for below £100. Scientists major concern is a technique called CRISPR which is very cheap and make it available to make tests at home or school labs. It works like genetic scissors to cut away DNA code and replace it with new genes. Also, Kits to make E.coli resistant to antibiotics are already for sale on the internet.

Gates said the trend of free travel might cause a more deadly epidemic than the Spanish flu that killed about 100 million people. He argued that we would have epidemics in the next 20 years far worse than the Ebola or  Zika and there is some chance it would be a form of flu.

Finally, he urged British Prime Minister Theresa May to hold the 0.7 percent GDP foreign aid pledge.  He said “A disease is more likely to become an epidemic when countries are unstable and have no functioning health system. We can’t build a wall to hold back the next global epidemic.”

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