Bill Gates was cautiously optimistic on Wednesday about the experimental antibody cocktails from pharmaceutical maker Regeneron that President Donald Trump has touted as a “cure” for the coronavirus.
“The word ‘cure’ is inappropriate because it won’t work for everyone,” Gates told NBC’s Chuck Todd when asked if he felt that Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody cocktails would become major COVID-19 treatments in the near future. “But yes, of all the therapeutics, this is the most promising.”
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has committed millions of dollars to COVID-19 vaccine research and testing, most recently donating $15 million to support coronavirus testing at historically Black colleges and universities across the U.S.
The billionaire philanthropist said that his foundation has partnered with pharmaceutical companies like Eli Lilly on antibody treatments similar to the cocktail given to Trump, but stressed that these treatments were still inaccessible to average Americans without the extensive medical care provided to the president during his stay at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center earlier this month.
“Very, very few people have had it because it’s not approved and the manufacturing is just ramping up,” Gates said, adding that testing such treatments is a delicate process and could not be rushed.
“Now, the pharmaceutical companies are working with each other, sharing capacity, very focused on this. … You don’t want politicians saying something should be approved, because it’s wrong to think of political pressure as needing to be appropriate in these cases. I hope the FDA can take the data, which is looking quite good, and get these [theraputic treatments] out within the next two months, because we have so little to save lives and we’re going back up to record levels of deaths here in the fall.”
Gates has been critical of the Food and Drug Administration in the past, arguing that it has been hijacked by the Trump administration and pressured into approving a COVID-19 vaccine too quickly.
On the topic of vaccines currently in trial, Gates speculated that emergency use authorization would likely arrive “by early next year,” but added that the United States was still a long way away from anything resembling life before the pandemic.
“The only way we’ll get completely back to normal is by having maybe not the first-generation vaccines, but eventually a vaccine that’s super effective and that a lot of people take and that we get the disease eliminated on a global basis,” the Microsoft co-founder said.
Watch the entire NBC interview below.
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