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Bioterrorism damage could be 'very huge' if it happens, Bill Gates warns

Billionaire Bill Gates urged governments and private organizations on Thursday to make "substantial investments" to prepare for a potentially damaging bioterrorism attack.

The Microsoft co-founder said organizations involved in prevention need to discuss what to do in the event of such an attack.

"It's very hard to rate the probability of bioterrorism but the potential damage is very huge," Gates said during a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

"I'm hoping over the next few years there's some substantial investments."

Bill Gates
Katie Kramer | CNBC
Bill Gates

Gates helped launch the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations — an organization working to prevent epidemics. CEPI has received an initial investment of $460 million from the governments of Germany, Japan and Norway, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Wellcome Trust.

Gates has raised these concerns before.

"I am concerned about biological tools that could be used by a bioterrorist. However, the same tools can be used for good things as well," Gates said in a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" session last year.

Gates has been focused for years on fighting epidemics. He warned in December that the world is "vulnerable" to flu epidemics.


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