Bioterrorism has the potential to kill tens of millions of people and be more deadly than nuclear war, billionaire Microsoft founder Bill Gates has warned.

Speaking at the Munich Security Conference over the weekend, the tech icon said that despite the immense calamity engineered viruses can cause, no country on Earth is ready to deal with the threat.

“The next epidemic has a good chance of originating on a computer screen of a terrorist,” Gates said.

He warned of the potential for rogue actors to use “genetic engineering to create a synthetic version of the smallpox virus … or a super contagious and deadly strain of the flu” with devastating consequences.

Since handing over the reins of Microsoft, Gates has concentrated on efforts to eradicate diseases including malaria and polio.

According to the 61-year-old, a fast-moving airborne pathogen could kill more than 30 million people in less than a year, and epidemiologists believe there is a reasonable probability the world will experience such an outbreak in the next 10-15 years.


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Image Credit:  Luis Alvarez

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