As if we didn’t have enough to worry about with the recent terror attacks in cities around Europe, the Microsoft founder has now warned that innovative methods of destruction are in the pipeline to be deployed in the next ten to fifteen years.
Gates was speaking ahead of a speech at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London, and claimed that deadly pathogens – such as the lethal smallpox respiratory virus - could be used globally.
The 61-year-old, who is worth approximately $86.8 billion according to Forbes, told The Telegraph: “All these advances in biology have made it far easier for a terrorist to recreate smallpox, which is a highly fatal pathogen, where there is essentially no immunity remaining at this point.”
A bioterrorist attack of this nature would be capable of wiping out as many as 30 million people and has greater implications than even a nuclear attack, according to Gates.
“When you are thinking about things that could cause in excess of 10 million deaths, even something tragic like a nuclear weapons incident wouldn’t get to that level. So the greatest risk is from a natural epidemic or an intentionally caused infection bioterrorism events,” he said.
His expertise is partially due to the extensive research his charitable foundation is doing in this field, investing funds in helping governments to quickly spot outbreaks and monitor them before they take hold.
He also compared a potential outbreak to the Spanish Flu of 1919, which killed up to 100 million people.
Encouraging the UK government to maintain foreign aid, Gates also said in his speech, which appeared on The Huffington Post UK, that the 0.7% of national income spent on financial support overseas was essential and withdrawing it would “cost lives”.
This is the not the first time that the American philanthropist has warned world leaders and experts about the potential of the bioterrorist threat.
Speaking earlier this year at a conference in Munich he said there was a “reasonable probability” of this happening in the next decade.