Written byShubham Sharma
The organization has been funding research on the novel coronavirus and its impact, but some conspiracy theorists think Gates is doing this to find a way to implant 'microchips' in people.
Here's what the billionaire philanthropist had to say in response to these claims.
For years, Gates has channeled his wealth into his Foundation to focus on health and wellness around the world.
As part of this, on multiple occasions, he warned about a pandemic, and how the world is not prepared to deal with it.
His famous TED Talk from 2015 and a discussion with Donald Trump before he took Presidency also revolved around the same issue.
Despite the warnings, the world did not prepare for the pandemic and it struck in the form of COVID-19 in December 2019.
In light of the crisis, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation redirected resources and committed $300 million to back research on the novel coronavirus causing the pandemic as well as to support vaccine development efforts around the world.
The spread of COVID-19 also started an infodemic, with plenty of misinformation about the disease circulating on the internet.
One such conspiracy theory that has taken hold, particularly famous among Republicans, suggests Gates is behind the creation of the novel coronavirus.
They say he knew about it and is now developing vaccines to implant microchips in people for tracking them and making money.
Given that the conspiracy theory has grown with the pandemic, Gates has taken to media to quash it.
In a call with reporters, the Microsoft co-founder said, "I've never been involved any microchip-type thing...it's almost hard to deny this stuff because it's so stupid or strange."
He added they need systems to identify if a person has been immunized but no microchips were developed/involved.
Along with debunking the microchip theory, Gates also clarified how he spoke about the pandemic well before it struck.
He said, "Our Foundation gets money to buy vaccines...That's why we saw the risk of a pandemic and spoke out."
It must be noted that several other infectious disease experts and public health officials had also warned about this crisis.
While there is no evidence to blame Gates for the crisis or the microchip plan, misinformation involving him has sky-rocketed particularly on social media, mentioning him over 1.2 million times between February and April.
A survey carried out by Yahoo News and YouGov found that 28% of Americans actually thought that these claims were true. Gates said he found that a "little bit concerning."
Gates went on to say that the false claims have not stopped governments from backing their vaccine development efforts, but it could create problems in the future.
Basically, he emphasized that rumors like these could promote anti-vaccine sentiments among people around the world.
To note, Gates's Foundation recently committed $1.6 billion to deliver life-saving vaccines to children in low-income nations.
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