DEBUNKED: Bill Gates Neither Funded Nor Planned Covid-19 Pandemic

A poster of Bill Gates being ‘wanted’ for alleged “crimes against humanity’ was recently shared on social media forums in Kenya. The Poster lists eight cases for which the Microsoft founder “must be stopped”.

This fact-check focuses on accusations 1 and 2 on the Poster below.

Funding and Planning the Covid-19 pandemic at Event 201

 The poster claims Bill Gates on 19th October 2019 funded the simulation of today’s pandemic six weeks in advance. Indeed, in October 2019, the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security with partners – the World Economic Forum and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – hosted a pandemic tabletop exercise called “Event 201”.

The event simulated an outbreak of a novel zoonotic coronavirus transmitted from bats to pigs to people and which leads to a severe pandemic. The simulation was geared at highlighting “preparedness and response challenges” that would likely arise in a very severe pandemic.

But Johns Hopkins disputed the prediction link, saying for the scenario, the simulation modeled a fictional coronavirus pandemic and explicitly stated that it was not a prediction”.

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“Although our tabletop exercise included a mock novel coronavirus, the inputs we used for modeling the potential impact of that fictional virus are not similar to nCoV-2019,” they added.

John Hopkins said the event was organized in light of increased pandemics. In fact, the World Health Organisation (WHO) performed its own simulation.

VERDICT: Based on the institute’s explanation the claim by activists that Bill Gates funded and planned the Covid-19 pandemic which is not backed by any evidence is therefore FALSE.

Funding the development of the Covid-19 virus

The second accusation against Bill Gates in the ‘Wanted’ poster touches on funding the development of the Covid-19 virus.  The post claims Gates is a major funder of the Pirbright Institute in the United Kingdom and that the institute owns the patent of the COVID-19 virus.

According to Reuters, quoting the institute’s management, Pirbright is funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, part of UK Research and Innovation (BBSRC UKRI). Pirbright also receives funding from a number of other organizations, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The claim that Bill Gates funded the development of the Covid-19 virus is FAKE.

The statement from Pirbright says it does not have a patent for either a COVID-19 vaccine or virus.

Pirbright acknowledges that it does hold a patent, but this covers a type of weakened coronavirus that could potentially be used as a vaccine to prevent respiratory diseases affecting animals. Pirbright specifies that funding for its work on this patent was not from the Gates Foundation.

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In January 2020, Pirbright had addressed this issue on its website. According to the institute, its research primarily focuses on respiratory diseases affecting poultry and pigs, including the infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) and the deltacoronavirus. “Pirbright does not currently work with human coronaviruses,” the website states. “We have not yet developed an IBV vaccine, but research is ongoing.”

VERDICT: The claim that Bill Gates funded the development of the Covid-19 virus is therefore FAKE as it is not backed by any evidence and it has been debunked by the players in question.

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