Viral social media posts claim that Microsoft founder Bill Gates, through his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, plans to test new coronavirus vaccines on Africans. And in a sermon on Sunday, April 5, Zimbabwean preacher Emmanuel Makandiwa also claimed that there is a plan to inject electronic implants into people under the guise of COVID-19 vaccinations.
Is this true?
How did the rumours start?
Rumours and conspiracy theories around vaccines have existed for years. The rumours have increased recently following the outbreak of COVID-19.
On March 27, 2020, a Facebook post said to have been written by the French microbiologist Didier Raoult urged Africans to resist vaccinations created by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The claim was debunked by AFP; it turned out he never said so.
On April 2, French doctor Jean-Paul Mira appeared on the TV channel LCI, with Camille Locht, research head at France’s National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM). The two were discussing the feasibility of using BCG, a vaccine widely used for decades around the world, in the fight against COVID-19.
Mira asked: “Shouldn’t we be doing this study in Africa, where there are no masks, no treatment, no intensive care, rather as was done with certain studies on AIDS, where things are tested on prostitutes because it’s known that they are highly exposed (to HIV)?”
Locht replied: “You’re right, we are thinking in parallel by the way about a study in Africa with the same kind of approach, (but) it doesn’t prevent us from being able to think about a study in Europe and Australia at the same time.”
The discussion drew widespread criticism, including from football stars Didier Drogba and Samuel Eto’o.
INSERM said Locht’s comments had been taken out of context: “A distorted video, taken from an interview on LCI with one of our researchers about a study on the potential use of the BCG vaccine against COVID-19, is now the subject of erroneous interpretation.”
According to INSERM, any trials would be conducted in Europe and Australia, and “Africa should not be forgotten or excluded from research, as the pandemic is global.”
Mira later apologised.
Speaking with the Huffington Post, Mira said: “It seemed interesting to me that in addition to France and Australia, an African country could participate in this study which I had never heard of before hearing about it on the show.”
Bill Gates and microchips
In a Facebook Live sermon on Sunday, on April 5, Pastor Emmanuel Makandiwa of the United Family International Church claimed there were plans to insert a microchip into people.
Makandiwa said: “What makes this very strange, is the idea that now they want to put a chip alongside the vaccine. Having a chip in your hand that has access to every information. They will know who has refused the vaccine. Now you have a gadget in your body. What is that? Simply because of flu?”
How did this claim start?
On March 18, Bill Gates held a question and answer session on coronavirus with users of the online community Reddit.
Gates called for a “national tracking system similar to South Korea”, saying “in Seattle, the [University of Washington] is providing thousands of tests per day but no one is connected to a national tracking system”.
Biohackinfo, a conspiracy theory website, then reported on March 19 that “Bill Gates will use microchip implants to fight coronavirus”.
The article claimed: “Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates will launch human-implantable capsules that have ‘digital certificates’ which can show who has been tested for the coronavirus and who has been vaccinated against it.”
On March 27, the website TruNews published a story headlined: “Mark of the beast: Gates wants coronavirus patients implanted with quantum-dot tattoos”. The report made similar claims that Bill Gates planned to implant microchips in people.
The website is a known conspiracy theory site. It is run by Rick Wiles, a pastor and far-right conspiracy theorist.
An example of Wiles’ theories; in a March 31 video, Wiles blames Jews for the coronavirus. He says: “God is spreading it in your synagogues! You’re under judgment because you oppose his son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Repent and believe in the name of Jesus Christ, and the plague will stop.”
In the video, Wiles also claims that Gates is “building Lucifer’s anti-Christ system” and that he “wants to put a microchip in the vaccine, a nano-sized microchip. This guy is an enemy of the mighty God. Every Christian needs to be alert right now.”
Asked about the microchip claim, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation told Reuters: “The reference to ‘digital certificates’ relates to efforts to create an open source digital platform with the goal of expanding access to safe, home-based testing.” No implants are involved.
“The quantum dot dye technology is not a microchip…”
The microchip conspiracies claim that governments will use the “quantum dot dye” technology to plant the chips.
However, the people who actually developed the technology, used to electronically store vaccination records, point out that there is no microchip involved. Kevin McHugh, one of the lead researchers on the project’s development, said the tech does not involve implants. “The quantum dot dye technology is not a microchip or human-implantable capsule and to my knowledge there are no plans to use this for coronavirus.”
Claims by Makandiwa that there are plans to insert microchips into people as part of coronavirus tests are therefore FALSE. The claim is based on fake news peddled by conspiracy websites.
Vaccines: What did Bill Gates say?
In an April 3 interview with Trevor Noah of The Daily Show, Gates said his foundation would pay for the construction of factories to manufacture seven potential coronavirus vaccines. Two successful vaccines would be chosen for further trial.
Gates said: “Even though we’ll end up picking at most two of them, we’re going to fund factories for all seven just so we don’t waste time in serially saying ‘ok which vaccine works’ and then building the factory.”
On April 4, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa tweeted: The Gates Foundation has supported our health needs for many years. They have offered assistance with innovative mass-based testing kits and research.”
Cyril Ramaphosa #StayHome✔@CyrilRamaphosaThe @GatesFoundation has supported our health needs for many years. They have offered assistance with innovative mass-based testing kits and research. I spoke to @BillGates and he commended the swift and decisive action South Africa has taken on #COVID19.8,0057:58 AM - Apr 4, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacy6,382 people are talking about this
Neither the Trevor Noah interview nor Ramaphosa’s tweet mentioned any coronavirus tests focused on Africa. However, social media took both as confirmation that Gates intended to specifically target Africa for vaccine tests. This was false.
On April 4, South African website News24 published a story under the headline “Bill Gates confident a potential coronavirus vaccine will work in Africa, but Twitter does not think so”. The website later admitted the story was wrong.
“Nowhere in the interview does Gates mention testing a vaccine in Africa,” News24 admitted.
The site removed the story, issued an apology to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and instituted an investigation into how the false story got published.
Existing fears around vaccines, the controversy around the French doctors, plus the Bill Gates interview, all combined to feed into conspiracies that Africa would be targeted as a staging post for vaccine trials.
So, what is the truth about vaccine trials?
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said Africa will not be targeted as the stage for vaccine trials. Trials, instead, are being staged in participating countries from around the world.
“Africa can’t and won’t be a testing ground for any vaccine,” said WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on April 6.
Barry Malone✔@malonebarry"When we needed solidarity these kind of racist remarks will not help. It goes against the solidarity. Africa will not be a testing ground for any vaccine." - @DrTedros in response to two French doctors suggesting a potential vaccine be trialed in Africa.1,3132:32 PM - Apr 6, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacy737 people are talking about this
As at April 4, 60 candidate vaccines had been registered with the WHO. Two, one in China and another in the US, are already being tested on humans. The rest are in the pre-clinical trial stage, which means they are not yet ready for human tests.
On March 18, the WHO launched the start of the global clinical trial for antivirals that could potentially be used to treat the new coronavirus, a programme called “Solidarity”. Under this trial, four therapies are being tested. Some of these are already being used in Africa for different diseases.
Here are the four therapies being tested by the WHO and its partners:
Remdesivir – this was previously tested as an Ebola treatment. According to the WHO, it has generated promising results in animal studies for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which are also caused by coronaviruses, suggesting it may have some effect in patients with COVID-19.
A combination of Lopinavir and Ritonavir – this is a licensed treatment for HIV. Evidence for COVID-19, MERS and SARS is yet to show it can improve clinical outcomes or prevent infection. This trial aims to identify and confirm any benefit for COVID-19 patients.
Interferon beta-1a – used to treat multiple sclerosis.
Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine – closely related, these used to treat malaria and rheumatology conditions respectively. In China and France, small studies provided some indications of possible benefit of chloroquine phosphate against pneumonia caused by COVID-19 but need confirmation through randomized trials.
Of the more than 300 clinical trials that have launched to find a treatment for COVID-19, most are in China and South Korea, according to research journal Nature.
Early trial entrants are from Europe, where countries have some of the highest COVID-19 cases. As at the start of April, the only country in Africa to have formally joined the trial is South Africa. Senegal and Burkina Faso — which have some of the most COVID-19 cases in the continent — were in the process of being enrolled. In total, some 25 countries from around the world had expressed an interest, according to Nature journal.
According to WHO guidelines, clinical trials involve consenting adults. Eligible patients are asked to sign to show they understand the possible risks and benefits and consent to joining the study. Health authorities in each participating country are required to clear drugs so that they can be imported, and the trial must be vetted by regulators for safety, and by ethics-review boards.
Claims that Africa will be used to stage COVID-19 vaccine trials have been debunked by the WHO. There is also no evidence that Bill Gates has said he intends to target Africa for trials. Claims that vaccines will involve the insertion of microchips into people, as claimed by Pastor Makandiwa, are false.
There are times that we must be circumspect in what we believed or do not believed. It should be noted, however, the African Continent has most often being seen as a Guinea Pig suitable only for text. Why not start the vacinne test in the United States of America?
Wow that's good update
Thanks for the update
Thank God that Africa is excluded on trial testing of their experiment