The Event 201
The Event 201 was a high-level pandemic exercise performed on October 18, 2019, in New
York, NY. The exercise illustrated areas where public/private partnerships will be necessary
during the response to a severe pandemic in order to diminish large-scale economic and
societal consequences. Event 201 simulated an outbreak of a novel zoonotic coronavirus
transmitted from bats to pigs to people that eventually becomes efficiently transmissible from
person to person, leading to a severe pandemic.
The Johns Hopkins Center for Health
Security in partnership with the World
Economic Forum and the Bill and
Melinda Gates Foundation hosted Event
201, a high-level pandemic exercise on
October 18, 2019, in New York, NY.
The exercise illustrated areas where
public/private partnerships will be
necessary during the response to a severe
pandemic in order to diminish large-scale
economic and societal consequences.
Event 201 simulated an outbreak of a
novel zoonotic coronavirus transmitted
from bats to pigs to people that eventually
becomes efficiently transmissible from
person to person, leading to a severe
The pathogen and the disease it causes
were modeled largely on SARS, but it is
more transmissible in the community
setting by people with mild symptoms.
There is no possibility of a vaccine being
available in the first year.
There is a fictional antiviral drug that can
help the sick but not significantly limit
spread of the disease.
Since the whole human population is
susceptible, during the initial months of the
pandemic, the cumulative number of cases
increases exponentially, doubling every
week. And as the cases and deaths
accumulate, the economic and societal
consequences become increasingly severe.
1. Governments, international
organizations, and businesses
should plan now for how essential
corporate capabilities will be
utilized during a large-scale
2. Industry, national governments, and
international organizations should
work together to enhance
internationally held stockpiles of
medical countermeasures to enable
rapid and equitable distribution
during a severe pandemic.
3. Countries, international
organizations, and global
transportation companies should
work together to maintain travel
and trade during severe pandemics.
Travel and trade are essential to the
global economy as well as to
national and even local economies,
and they should be maintained even
in the face of a pandemic.
4. Governments should provide more
resources and support for the
development and surge
manufacturing of vaccines,
therapeutics, and diagnostics that
will be needed during a severe
5. Global business should recognize
the economic burden of pandemics
and fight for stronger
6. International organizations should
prioritize reducing economic
impacts of epidemics and
7. Governments and the private sector
should assign a greater priority to
developing methods to combat mis-
and disinformation prior to the next
Among the selected “players” as they were
called, was the professor George Fu Gao,
who is director of the Chinese Center for
Disease Control and Prevention since
2017. His specialization includes research
on influenza virus interspecies
transmission (host jump). He is also
interested in virus ecology, especially the
relationship between influenza virus and
migratory birds or live poultry markets and
the bat-derived virus ecology and
Prof. Gao was joined among others at the
panel by the former Deputy Director of the
CIA during the Obama term, Avril
Haines. She also served as Obama’s
Assistant to the President and Principal
Deputy National Security Advisor.
Another of the players at the Gates event
was Rear Admiral Stephen C. Redd,
Director of the Office of Public Health
Preparedness and Response at the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Rounding out the group was Adrian
Thomas, the Vice President of Johnson &
Johnson, the giant medical and
pharmaceutical company. Thomas is
responsible for pandemic preparedness at
J&J including developing vaccines for
Ebola, Dengue Fever, and HIV.
And there was Martin Knuchel, Head of
Crisis, Emergency & Business Continuity
Management, for Lufthansa Group
Airlines. Lufthansa has been one of the
major airlines dramatically cutting flights
during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.
Bill Gates also made a 2019 Netflix video
which made an imaginary scenario.
The video, part of the “Explained” series,
imagined a wet market in China where live
and dead animals are stacked and a highly
deadly virus erupts that spreads globally.
Inovio Pharmaceuticals of
Pennsylvania received $9 million from
the Gates-backed CEPI, Coalition for
Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, to
develop a vaccine, INO-4800, which is
about to test on humans in April.
They plan on delivering one million doses
by year-end 2020 with existing resources
and capacity. INOVIO Pharmaceuticals,
Inc. announced that it has received a new
$5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda
Gates Foundation to accelerate the testing
and scale-up of CELLECTRA® 3PSP
proprietary smart device for the
intradermal delivery of INO-4800, a
DNA vaccine for COVID-19 disease.
Gates Foundation monies via CEPI are
financing development of a new vaccine
method known as messenger-RNA.
They are co-funding the Cambridge,
Massachusetts biotech company,
Moderna Inc., to develop a vaccine
against the Wuhan novel coronavirus, the
Moderna’s other partner is the US National
Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
(NIAID), a part of the National Institutes
of Health (NIH).
Moderna has announced the dosing of the
first participant in a phase 1 study of
mRNA-1273, the company’s mRNA
vaccine candidate against the novel
The phase 1 study will examine the safety
and immunogenicity of three dose levels of
mRNA-1273 (25, 100, 250 µg) to be given
on a two-dose vaccination schedule, with a
gap of 28 days.
The company intends to have 45 healthy
adults in the early-stage trial, which will be
followed through 12 months after the date
of the second vaccination.
Another biotech company working with
mRNA technology to develop a vaccine
for the COVID-19 is a German company,
CureVac. Since 2015 CureVac has
received money from the Gates Foundation
to develop its own mRNA technology.
The Gates Foundation and related entities
such as CEPI constitute the largest funders
of the WHO. Its current director, Tedros
Adhanom, the first WHO director in
history who is not a medical doctor,
worked for years on HIV with the Gates
Foundation. Tedros Adhanom is one of the
leaders fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
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3. Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and
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4. Engdahl WF. Coronavirus, Vaccines and the
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5. PBR Staff Writer. Moderna doses first patient
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03-2020. Retrieved from (27-03-2020)
6. Carlson R. INO-4800 DNA Coronavirus
Vaccine. Retrieved from (27-03-2020)
7. Young J. Bill Gates Predicted Coronavirus-Like
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