Microsoft co-founder and billionaire Bill Gates said that the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has outpaced the world’s distribution of vaccines in spreading immunity to the virus.

Speaking at the 2022 Munich Security Conference on Friday, Gates, who has spent years warning about the threat posed by viral pandemics, urged health officials to do better the next time a similar threat emerges.

“Sadly, the virus itself – particularly the variant called Omicron – is a type of vaccine,” said Gates. “That is, it creates both B-cell and T-cell immunity, and it’s done a better job of getting out to the world population than we have with vaccines,” he said, CNBC reported.

Gates was asked about global progress in “beating COVID-19” during the panel, which he attended alongside Canada’s foreign affairs minister Melany Joly, Ann Linde, Sweden’s foreign affairs minister, and Comfort Ero, CEO of the International Crisis Group. World Health Organization director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus delivered the introduction.

The billionaire and tech magnate credited the spread of the Omicron variant for immunizing populations naturally in some parts of the world.

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