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Bill Gates Leaves Microsoft Board of Directors, Focuses on COVID-19 Solution

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by Teuta Franjkovic · 4 min read
Bill Gates Leaves Microsoft Board of Directors, Focuses on COVID-19 Solution
Photo: Depositphotos

Bill Gates co-founded Microsoft in 1975 with Paul Allen and was CEO until 2000. Gates was director of the board at Microsoft until 2014. But now he is leaving the board to focus on philanthropy.

Microsoft said yesterday that its co-founder Bill Gates is stepping down from its board of directors. Gates co-founded Microsoft in 1975 and was acting as the chairman of the board until 2014. Back in 2008 he stepped back from day-to-day operations.

Gates explained this unexpected move with the opportunity to spend more time on his philanthropic efforts in global health and more. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which the couple founded in 2000 and now has a fund of nearly $50 billion, is the largest private foundation in the world. Gates is also a founding member of the Giving Pledge, a campaign to get the world’s richest people to pledge to give most of their wealth to noble causes.

He wrote:

“I have made the decision to step down from both of the public boards on which I serve – Microsoft and Berkshire Hathaway – to dedicate more time to philanthropic priorities including global health and development, education, and my increasing engagement in tackling climate change. The leadership at the Berkshire companies and Microsoft has never been stronger, so the time is right to take this step.”

Bill Gates Stays at the Role of Microsoft Technology Adviser

However, Gates will not totally go from all of his functions in the company. He intends to serve as a Technology Adviser to Current Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and others.

The timing of stepping back from his role to focus on philanthropic global health is somewhat curious considering the world is currently gripped with a global health crisis. But if Gates is on the coronavirus case, we are more than thankful.

And, by the latest information – it seems that we are right.

Gates Is Onto COVID-19 Vaccine – For Real

Just two days ago, Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: INO) said it got a $5 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in order to speed up the testing of a custody smart device for intradermal delivery of a vaccine to treat the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

The company is reportedly developing a vaccine called INO-4800, which is now in preclinical studies. The company is trying to get to the human clinical trials already in April and has secured up to $9 million in funding from Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, or CEPI, a global organization based in Norway.

Even though Inovio shares surged 13% on the news in a deeply negative market, it ended the week with a 3.47% fall after hours. INO stock has dropped to $6.95.

Inovio stock has been quite volatile pretty much every time the company posts some new information about its plans to combat the coronavirus. The company has 15 DNA medicine clinical programs in development but has no approved products. And, fortunately, it does an amazing job so far amid growing concerns about the measures countries are taking to combat the spread of the virus and the impact it will have on economic activity.

So, a few days ago, Inovio explains what is it exactly a Cellectra 3PSP. By their words, this is a small, hand-held and portable device that runs on AA batteries and can be used to inject a vaccine. It was originally developed using $8.1 million in funding from the medical arm of the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s Medical CBRN Defense Consortium.

Inovio reiterated that it expects to deliver one million doses of INO-4800 by year-end. It said it is working to “scale up both INO-4800 and CELLECTRA 3PSP devices to potentially make available millions of doses to combat this outbreak.”

More Solutions from the Gates Foundation

We also should mention Bill and Melinda Gates have recently paid for 15,000 medicinal molecules to be shipped to a leading laboratory in Belgium to be tested as a potential cure to the coronavirus.

The therapeutic samples are all active ingredients in current antiviral treatments, will be screened at high speed for their inhibiting effect on particles developed from a swab from the first Belgian patient to be diagnosed.

The molecules, from the Scripps research institute in California, will be shipped to the Rega Institute for Medical Research, in Leuven, 20 miles (32km) east of Brussels. The Scripps institute has an extensive collection of the active ingredients of existing or in-development drugs.

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