Bill Gates: The next outbreak? We’re not ready | TED Talk Summary - When I was a kid, we had a barrel filled with food and water for a nuclear attack.

Today the greatest risk of global catastrophe is a highly infectious virus, not a war. We have invested very little in a system to stop an epidemic.

We didn't have a system in place to track Ebola, we didn't have epidemiologists ready to go, we didn't have a medical team ready to go, we didn't have a way of preparing people, we were far slower than we should have been getting workers into these countries.

The failure to prepare for the next epidemic could allow it to be dramatically more devastating than Ebola. Three reasons why it didn't spread more are heroic work by the health workers, the nature of the virus, and luck.

A virus spread through the air could be a natural epidemic like Ebola, or it could be bioterrorism. We can build a really good response system, though, because we have cell phones, satellite maps, and advances in biology.

We can have tools to deal with an epidemic, but we need a global health system and preparedness. The best lessons are again, what we do for war.

We need strong health systems in poor countries, a medical reserve corps, and to pair medical people with the military to move fast, do logistics and secure areas. We need to do simulations, not war games.

We need to invest in advanced R&D in areas of vaccines and diagnostics to prevent a worldwide flu epidemic. This would reduce global health equity and make the world more just as well as safe.

The Ebola epidemic is a wake-up call to get ready for the next epidemic. If we start now, we can be ready.


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