Bill Gates has spent years working on global health and fighting to eradicate diseases of poverty in developing countries, and in a new interview he says he expects to work with whomever takes the White House next.
“These causes are so important there’s nothing that causes you to change your total commitment,” Gates told the health and medicine publication STAT. “Polio, HIV, malaria, we’re going to work with whoever’s elected.”
Asked whether he is confident Donald Trump understands issues of public health — especially in light of Trump’s comments on vaccines being linked to autism — Gates reportedly “smiled broadly” while answering.
“There have been questions about vaccines in general where some of the candidates have shown that they’re not as up to date about vaccines in general, and that’s got to be a concern,” Gates said. “Science in general, whether it’s GMOs or vaccines, there’s a lot of people out there who don’t give science the benefit of the doubt. … In terms of experience, Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton have more experience on global health.”
Gates was in Boston this week for the American Society of Microbiology’s annual scientific conference, Microbe. He discussed a range of issues in the exclusive STAT interview, including Vice President Joe Biden’s cancer “moonshot” and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s fight to eradicate polio.
“When we first came in, we would have said the last two places in the world that polio would be would be Nigeria and India, and then maybe Somalia,” Gates said. “We wouldn’t have predicted [Pakistan and Afghanistan]. … But boy, polio is a hard disease. It has characteristics that make it way harder to eradicate than smallpox. … With good execution in Pakistan-Afghanistan, which we think we’re getting, with a bit of luck, the last wild-type case will be some time in 2017, and then we start a three-year clock for eradication.”