Did Bill Gates owe you some money?

The software billionaire in sight : Why Bill Gates became the enemy of the corona conspiracy theorists

In addition to all kinds of social and economic restrictions, the corona crisis also brings with it another phenomenon: a flourishing of conspiracy theories. One of the goals here is Microsoft founder and billionaire Bill Gates.

The main legend spinning around Gates is that he invented Covid-19 himself and then invented a vaccine and benefited from it. In the USA, these theories are partly also publicly fired by conservative TV presenters and vaccine opponents, and wild rumors about gates have been spreading on social media in the USA since January.

One of the reasons Gates is on fire in the United States is accusing the Trump administration of failing to fight the virus. "No question about it, the United States missed the opportunity to prepare well for the coronavirus," Gates wrote in the Washington Post at the end of March.

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"The decisions our leaders are making now will have a huge impact on how soon the number of cases will drop, how long the economy will remain in shutdown, and how many Americans will have to bury a loved one because of Covid-19." Gates took on the role that Hungarian billionaire George Soros also played, writes the New York Times - as an enemy of the right, combined with absurd conspiracy theories.

But how do these theories come about, why does someone like Bill Gates become an enemy?

Bill Gates, whose fortune is estimated at around 100 billion dollars, founded with his wife Melinda in 2000 what is currently the largest non-profit foundation in the world with assets of 47 billion US dollars (2018) - the "Bill and Melinda Gates -Foundation, endowment". The foundation's assets are also made up of funds from other super-rich philanthropists, such as investor Warren Buffett. Among other things, the foundation aims to eradicate various dangerous infectious diseases.

In 2014, the foundation gave $ 500 million to fight infectious diseases

In 2014, for example, the foundation used $ 500 million to combat malaria, diarrhea and pneumonia, among other things. The grants are often used in developing countries.

In 2018, more than $ 4 billion in grants were paid according to tax returns, much of it for vaccination programs. "Vaccinations were one of our first investments because they protect all children, regardless of how poor or rich they are," quotes the Global Vaccine Alliance, Gavi Gates.

Allianz started the Gates Foundation itself - and it has so far poured about $ 4 billion into vaccination programs for more than 760 million children. The Gates Foundation is also one of the co-founders of the Cepi network for the development of new vaccines. Since 2001, she has also transferred more than three billion US dollars to the Global Fund, which is fighting against AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. It is also one of the largest donors to the World Health Organization.

The foundation was also present at the EU donor conference

The "Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation" is currently also working to develop a vaccine against the coronavirus. Most recently, for example, they were also part of the donor conference convened by EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, which raised funds for the development of tests, drugs and vaccines against Covid-19. The foundation pledged 125 million US dollars, and according to its own information, the foundation has now invested around 300 million euros in the fight against the corona virus.

According to its own information, the foundation finances eight projects to search for a serum. Universities and research institutions are just as involved in these as the pharmaceutical industry. The foundation does not pursue profit intentions. Any profits that would be generated through the investments of the trust belonging to the foundation flow into the charitable work.

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The foundation does not want to enrich itself through the development of a vaccine, which is also a popular accusation against Gates. Gavi managing director Seth Berkley recently even demanded in an epd interview that a vaccine against Covid-19 must initially be made available without the intention of making a profit. Pharmaceutical companies should only make a profit with it after the crisis has ended.

In principle, Gavi and the Gates Foundation pursue market-based approaches with the involvement of private donors and profit-oriented companies. There is criticism against this. At Gavi, for example, pharmaceutical companies have a say in how much the vaccination alliance and affected countries pay per vaccine dose. Gavi defends the approach by ensuring that the most efficient solution is found. In fact, Gavi pays little per vaccine dose, but guarantees the industry high purchases.

Gates warned of a global pandemic back in 2015

The fight against diseases and concerns about a global pandemic have long accompanied Gates. As early as 2015, he warned in a TED talk that this could happen - and that one had to prepare properly for it.

This commitment to advocating the development of vaccines in particular calls the conspiracy theorists on the scene: Widespread theses are that Gates, for example, wants to reduce the world population and establish a health dictatorship, that health politicians and virologists are subservient to him or that he microchips people through vaccinations want to plant under the skin for surveillance - theories that belong in the realm of the crudest conspiracy theories.

[You can find the latest developments on the coronavirus pandemic here in our news blog. The developments especially in Berlin at this point.]

A great influence of the foundation cannot of course be denied, with its billions in donations it has a great influence on global health policy. But she cannot decide what happens at Gavi, the Global Fund or even the WHO. It has to coordinate with other donors, especially governments. Critics who want to reduce the growing influence of other philanthropists also see only one alternative: States would have to increase their donations to organizations like the WHO. The opposite is currently the case. The US recently announced that it would stop its payments to the WHO. (with epd)

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