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Bill Gates is responsible for monkeypox.

Social media users have inaccurately conflated Gates' comments on preparing for future pandemics with the spread of the monkeypox virus.


An Instagram post claims that billionaire Bill Gates is behind the monkeypox virus, which was declared a public health emergency by the World Health Organization on July 23, 2022. User Healthnutpb has shared the post, which carries a screengrab of a news report by U.K. news outlet The Independent. The article is dated November 9, 2021, with the headline, "Bill Gates warns of smallpox terror attacks as he seeks research funds." 

The user has captioned the post, "Another planned event, coincidence? No, they plan every big event before it occurs. Cvid (COVID) was planned through Event 201, a "what if" scenario for a pandemic. Fauci said in 2017, there will be a surprise outbreak in the coming administration, they are either corrupt criminals that plan all major events behind closed doors or they are psychics."

The user has subsequently attached further reports discussing various items, including the FDA's approval of new smallpox and monkeypox vaccines; the discovery of vials labeled "smallpox" in a freezer at a Merck facility outside Philadelphia; the U.S. buying $119 million worth of monkeypox vaccines after diagnosing its first case; and that the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) paper on a 2021 threat preparation exercise used monkeypox in a preparedness scenario. The user has attempted to link all these reports to prove that the monkeypox outbreak was planned to make money. However, the claims are baseless. 

In fact

According to The Independent, Gates spoke about smallpox in a conversation with former British Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt in November 2021. However, his plan was funding and preparing for pandemics, not planning one. Gates suggested countries like the U.S. and the U.K. should spend "tens of billions" to fund research to eradicate flu and the common cold. "I'm hoping in five years; I can write a book called, 'We are ready for the next pandemic,' but it'll take tens of billions in R&D - the U.S. and the U.K. will be part of that," he said. He further suggested that "germ games" could prepare nations for bio-terrorist attacks like releasing smallpox at airports, adding that "bioterrorism caused epidemics could be worse than naturally occurring ones." The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has committed funding up to $125 million to help eradicate COVID-19 and prepare for future pandemics. There is no evidence that Gates has planned a pandemic.

Moreover, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), laboratory testing showed that vials discovered in a vaccine research facility in Pennsylvania marked as smallpox contained vaccinia, the virus used in the smallpox vaccine – which is not the cause of smallpox. The report added, "There is no evidence that the vials contain variola virus, the cause of smallpox." 

According to the CDC, monkeypox is a rare disease caused by contact with the monkeypox virus. It is part of the variola virus family, the same virus that causes smallpox. The virus was "discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks of a pox-like disease occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research". However, the CDC states that the "source of the disease remains unknown." 

Finally, the claims made by the user about the NTI paper, suggesting that the outbreak was planned, are also baseless. As we have stated before, planning or preparing for future pandemics does not prove that pandemics are planned. Such preparedness activities are carried out in many professions, such as geologists, to prepare for worst-case scenarios. The image attached by the user has been taken from page 12 of the NTI paper on "Strengthening Global Systems to Prevent and Respond to High-Consequence Biological Threats." The section discusses NTI's partnership with the Munich Security Conference in March 2021 on reducing "high-consequence biological threats."

The verdict

Social media users have inaccurately linked Gates' comments on preparing for future pandemics with the spread of the monkeypox virus and with the vials found in a Pennsylvania laboratory. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false. 

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