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Microsoft co-founder and billionaire Bill Gates has been in the middle of discussions about how the U.S. can fight the coronavirus pandemic — and he's even been the target of internet trolls' conspiracy theories about the virus.
His tech background may not point to Gates' interest in infectious disease research, but his charity, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has been intertwined with the fight against infectious diseases after helping found the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovation (CEPI) in 2016.
For several years, Gates has warned about the kind of devastation a pandemic could bring if world leaders didn't prepare.
"At a time when world leaders are understandably focused on terrorism and other security threats, another enemy is being largely overlooked — the next epidemic," Gates wrote in a 2017 blog post. "We don't know when the next pathogen will emerge, what it will be, how it will spread, or who will be affected, but we do know that the world is not prepared to deal with it."
He has been using his platform to raise awareness about coronavirus and has donated $100 million to relief efforts through his charity.
CEPI has partnered with some of the companies focused on finding a coronavirus vaccine. Recently, CEPI has given $388 million to Maryland-based Novavax to develop its vaccine candidate and $6.9 million for Pennsylvania-based Inovio to test its vaccine candidate in South Korea.
Life in the U.S. will not return to "normal" until a coronavirus vaccine is "gotten out to basically the entire world," Gates told "Fox News Sunday" in April.
"We will eventually get a vaccine. Even before then, if we do the right things, we'll be able to open up significant parts of the economy," he said.