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NEW DELHI : Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates today said that the fight against coronavirus pandemic is like a world war. "The coronavirus pandemic pits all of humanity against the virus. The damage to health, wealth, and well-being has already been enormous. This is like a world war, except in this case, we’re all on the same side," Bill Gates said.

"Melinda and I grew up learning that World War II was the defining moment of our parents’ generation. In a similar way, the COVID-19 pandemic—the first modern pandemic—will define this era. No one who lives through Pandemic I will ever forget it," he said adding that the economic impact of the shutdown is hitting low-income, minority workers the hardest.

Currently, over 70 vaccines are in various stages of development globally and 4-5 are in the top race but according to scientists, a successful COVID-19 vaccine may take 12-18 months.

"I am often asked when large-scale vaccination will start. Like American’s top public health officials, I say that it is likely to be 18 months, even though it could be as short as nine months or closer to two years. A key piece will be the length of the phase 3 trial, which is where the full safety and efficacy are determined," he said.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation last week committed additional $150 million in the global fight against COVID-19, raising its total funding to $250 million.

According to Gates, so far, "developing countries like India and Nigeria account for a small portion of the reported global infections. One of the priorities for our foundation has been to help ramp up the testing in these countries so they know their situation".

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