Writings spread on social media promoting a conspiracy theory saying that a report on monkeypox issued by the Bill Gates Foundation and the Munich Security Conference in March 2021 said that monkeypox would start spreading on May 15, 2022, and would infect 3.2 billion people, and kill 270 million.

What is the truth of that?

Did Gates actually plan to launch monkeypox in cooperation with the Munich Security Conference?

Bill Gates and monkeypox

We returned to Al Jazeera Net for the aforementioned report, checked it, and came to the following:

First

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The report is not issued by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Second

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The report is from a foundation called the Nuclear Threat Initiative, based in Washington.

iii

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The report is the outcome of a workshop in March 2021 between the Nuclear Threat Initiative and the Munich Security Conference on reducing high-consequence biological threats.

The exercise examined gaps in national and international biosecurity structures and pandemic preparedness, and explored opportunities to improve prevention and response capabilities to biological events with significant consequences.

Participants included 19 senior leaders and experts from across Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe with decades of combined experience in public health, the biotechnology industry, international security and philanthropy.

Among those who participated in the workshop was Dr. Ernst J.

Muniz, Co-Chair and CEO of the Nuclear Threat Initiative and former US Secretary of Energy, Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger of the Munich Security Conference, Luke De Bruyne, Strategic Advisor to the CEO of the Coalition for Pandemic Preparedness, Dr. Chris Elias, Chair of Global Development at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, among others.

In other words, a representative of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation participated in that workshop, but the report was not issued by it.

iv

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The exercise includes a fictional scenario developed in consultation with technical and political experts, depicting a deadly global pandemic involving an unusual strain of monkeypox virus that first appeared in the fictional country of Breinya and spread worldwide over the course of 18 months.

Ultimately, the exercise scenario revealed that the initial outbreak was due to a terrorist attack using a laboratory-engineered pathogen with inadequate biosafety, biosecurity, and weak oversight provisions.

By the end of the exercise, the fictional epidemic had resulted in more than 3 billion infections and 270 million deaths worldwide.

The report includes an imagined time scenario, but the start of the virus spreading according to the scenario is on the fifth of June

v

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Discussions during the exercise produced a set of valuable insights and key findings, and most importantly, exercise participants agreed that despite the improvements that followed the global response to COVID-19, the international system for pandemic prevention, detection, analysis, warning, and response is woefully inadequate to meet the current challenges. and expected future.

vi

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The report includes an imagined time scenario, but the outbreak of the virus is not on May 15, as many people circulated on social media, but rather on June 5.

However, this is all an imagined scenario that has nothing to do with reality.

vii

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This workshop is not the first by the Nuclear Threat Initiative, as it conducted a 2019 report on "The Spread of Plague" and a 2020 report on "Preventing Catastrophic Global Biological Hazards".

Conspiracy theories chase Bill Gates

Writer Bruce Lee said in a report in "Forbes" that once the current outbreak of monkeypox in the United States, it was only a matter of time before conspiracy theories began about this outbreak as well, and it was only a matter of time before these conspiracy theories began to mention Bill Gates;

Co-founder of Microsoft and billionaire philanthropist, according to the magazine.

The hashtag #BillGatesBioTerrorist was trending on Twitter on Saturday, noted Renee DiResta, director of research at the Stanford Internet Observatory.

This is a conspiracy theory that Bill Gates is behind monkeypox.

pic.twitter.com/SVva4wt4Ia

— Renee DiResta (@noUpside) May 21, 2022

Who was using this hashtag?

The hashtag #BillGatesBioTerrorist was used by some recognizable people, but it also went viral on several anonymous social media accounts.

For example, an account called "Just Call me Mike" claimed that Gates "was releasing pathogens and testing in people", and that this happened with COVID-19 and monkeypox.

Those publications provided no evidence to support their claims, but some referred to Gates' previous comments urging the world to be more prepared for potential smallpox bioterror attacks.

But such evidence is trivial, because warning of smallpox is not the same as warning of monkeypox;

The two diseases are not the same thing.

In addition, Gates was certainly not the only one to warn of the possibility of bioterrorist attacks.

Over the past two decades, many public health and security experts have been urging the world to better prepare.

Why do conspiracy theorists target Gates?

Gates was supportive of vaccination and the development of new vaccines to better prevent and respond to outbreaks of infectious diseases and epidemics;

So anti-vaccination campaigns, which might try to sell their unproven drugs, might consider it a big target.

There is a possibility that some of these messages are from those trying to destabilize society and governments, such as anti-vaccination messages that came from Russian sources, according to the Forbes report.

The Forbes report concluded that without further evidence, it is not entirely clear what motives and sources might have for many anonymous social media accounts to target Bill Gates, but one thing is certain that by using monkeypox in this way, they are not helping to fight the disease. Rather, they seem to harm efforts to protect people from such epidemics now and in the future.

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