Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates told Trevor Noah that it was “quite clear” that the novel coronavirus came from animals, ultimately jumping from bats to humans with “one step in between.”
Gates laid out an argument, comparing the coronavirus to other viruses like Ebola and HIV and arguing that they had all come from animals first and transmitted to humans via intermediate hosts like chimpanzees. He stopped short of offering a suggestion as to what had been the intermediate host for COVID-19.
.@BillGates: “It’s quite clear in this case, [Covid] came across through animals. And almost all our diseases, like HIV, crossed over from chimpanzees in Africa quite some time ago; Ebola came from bats, this also, with one step in between came across from bats.” pic.twitter.com/TVfWdUJ1dt
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) May 4, 2022
“How do we prevent something where we don’t even understand how it came to be?” Noah asked. “Like, you know, are there labs where they need to do better at, you know, enclosing the work that they’re doing? I understand that they have to do the work, but how do we figure that out and how do we move forward in that realm?”
Gates agreed that lab safety was something everyone should prioritize, but then he pivoted to argue that did not necessarily have any relevance with regard to the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s quite clear in this case, that [COVID] came across through animals. And almost all our diseases, like HIV, crossed over from chimpanzees in Africa quite some time ago; Ebola came from bats, this also, with one step in between came across from bats, so it’s going to keep happening, particularly with climate change where we’re invading a lot of habitats, and you want to catch it as soon as you can,” Gates said.
Despite evidence that surfaced very early in the pandemic, Gates is one of several prominent voices continuing to assert that COVID-19 did not come from a lab — either accidentally or intentionally — and transmitted from bats to humans through an intermediate host. Scientists around the world have been searching for a possible intermediate host since the pandemic began, but have not found anything.