Five years before the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, Bill Gates sounded the alarm on the next ‘global catastrophe’: a virus.
He's now warning the world to brace itself for pandemics worse than the current one.
In an effort to radically reduce the time taken to produce a vaccine to within 100 days, The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation (CEPI) is trying to raise US$3.5 billion (AU$4.8 billion).
To this end Gates urged governments around the world to contribute billions of dollars to prevent the spread of future pandemics which could include fatalities far worse than the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gates, who co-chairs the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, voiced his fears after the foundation and the British biomedical charity Wellcome Trust recently pledged US$150 million (AU$206 million) each to CEPI in the fight against COVID.
The funds are also accessible to prepare for future pandemics.
CEPI, which is partly responsible for Covax, the initiative to distribute COVID vaccines across the developing world, was co-founded five years ago during the Ebola epidemic.
It has also funded Moderna, AstraZeneca and Novavax vaccine projects which have proven to be globally beneficial.
While Gates showed faith in CEPI's efforts to develop and distribute vaccines around the world, which made a "huge difference, saving lots of lives", he believes more could have been done.
"We didn’t get the quantity to the developing countries as quickly as we wanted,” he said.
Gates believes there is a dire need for philanthropists and rich governments to step up and address vaccine inequities with governments contributing all they can to build capacity to tackle future pandemics.
"Billions spent to save trillions of economic damage and tens of billions of lives would serve as a pretty good insurance policy,” Gates said.
Adding weight to Gates' foresight is the warning from atomic scientists closely observing the The Doomsday Clock, which has become a universally recognised indicator of the world’s vulnerability to catastrophe from nuclear weapons, climate change, and disruptive technologies.
The scientists warned that investors and policy makers need to divert funds from fossil fuel projects or face global catastrophe.
They further added, "Developed countries improved their responses to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, but the worldwide response remained entirely insufficient.
"Plans for quick global distribution of vaccines essentially collapsed, leaving poorer countries largely unvaccinated and allowing new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus to gain an unwelcome foothold.
"The world’s wealthier countries should provide more financial support and technology cooperation to developing countries to move the world away from catastrophe and toward a safer world", according to atomic scientists.