FALSE: Bill Gates created COVID-19, Moderna

At a glance:
  • Claim: Bill Gates was responsible for creating Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease COVID-19, and then created Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine as a solution. The video where this claim was made implies that Gates did this in order to make a profit.
  • Rating: FALSE
  • The facts: There is no proof or official reports that Gates created Sars-CoV-2. Moderna is a publicly traded company and is owned by many shareholders.
  • Why we fact-checked this: Copies of the video where this claim was made are being circulated on Facebook. One such post has 1,500 views as of writing. The person who made the claim has a history of sharing disinformation.
Complete details

The Facebook page "Adam Hominem" on August 18 posted a Tiktok video by Ron Samaniego, a social media personality and physical therapist.

Samaniego, who is better known as "Doc Ron," is not part of the Philippine Physical Therapy Association Incorporated, and on April 6, the organization released a statement saying his videos contain false information.

In the video posted by "Adam Hominem," Samaniego claimed that Bill Gates orchestrated the COVID-19 pandemic by creating Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. He then claimed that Gates created Moderna, a pharmaceutical company that offers a COVID-19 vaccine.

At the 0:26 mark, Samaniego says, “So ang ginawa ni Bill Gates [noong 2000s], gumawa siya ng problema, gumawa rin siya ng solusyon. Ngayon, same thing, kasi maraming pera si Bill Gates. He’s one of those people na kaya niyang kontrolin ang buong mundo by creating a so-called ‘virus’ and then siya rin yung mayroong solusyon. Ano yung solusyon niya? Moderna.

(What Bill Gates did [in the 2000s] was create a problem and he then created a solution. Now, it's the same thing, since Bill Gates has a lot of money. He's one of these people who can control the whole world by creating a so-called ‘virus,' and the he also has a solution. What's his solution? Moderna.)

These claims are false.

There is no proof or official reports that Gates created Sars-CoV-2.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), scientists have yet to discover the zoonotic origin of SARS-CoV-2. Referencing the WHO, the Department of Health also says that the COVID-19 outbreak started in Wuhan, China and was first reported on December 31, 2020.

The possibility of the virus leaking from a lab in China is also being investigated, but no substantive evidence has been found that supports this claim. Expert consensus suggests that the virus spilled over to humans from bats or some other animal, as in the case of human immunodeficiency virus or HIV, influenza, Ebola, and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

Moderna is a publicly traded company and is not owned by one person or family, but by many shareholders.

Gates, through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), helps fund global health efforts, including the development of vaccines. However, there are no public records that prove that he is involved with or is a shareholder of Moderna, which can legally withhold information on its benefactors.

According to their grants database, the BMGF provided two grants for Moderna, both before the first case of COVID-19 was reported. One was awarded in 2016 to fund research on developing vaccines against HIV, while another was awarded in March 2019, to fund research on mRNA technology in relation to neonatal sepsis.

This conspiracy theory about Gates owning Moderna circulated in late 2020 and has already been disproven by other fact-checkers. Samaniego has a history of parroting conspiracy theories.

Copies of the video where this claim was made are being circulated on Facebook. One such post has 1,500 views as of writing. – Miguel Victor Durian/Rappler.com

Miguel Victor Durian is a volunteer of Rappler's fact-checking mentorship program. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler's research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler's fact-checking mentorship program here.

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