Billionaire Bill Gates has a new humanitarian project he hopes will change the world: developing a universal flu vaccine.
The philanthropist and Microsoft co-founder announced Friday his foundation will put up $12 million to initially fund the project.
“We think a universal flu vaccine would not only eliminate the pandemic risk, but would have significant health benefits,” Gates told STAT. “It would be a fantastic thing.”
Gates admitted that the project will ultimately cost more than his initial investment.
“This is the early-stage money,” he said. “This $12 million isn’t the end of the game.”
Gates spoke with STAT prior to making the announcement at an event put together by the Massachusetts Medical Society and the New England Journal of Medicine.
Gates’ announcement was timed to remember the 1918 Spanish Flu outbreak that is thought to have killed up to 50 million people.
It was reported in February, meanwhile, that scientists were racing to develop another version of the flu vaccine that was administered for the 2017-2018 season because the original one was only 25 percent effective.
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