Updated July 21, 2021 11:29 am
EDITOR NOTE: Upon review of this article we have decided to change the headline to a more accurate description of this story. The original headline read Gates and Soros Buy COVID Vaccine Company
The world’s billionaires have been busy with their own versions of progress, many of them making the news stream.
While Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, and Elon Musk are focused on space technologies, Bill Gates and George Soros are part of a group that is buying up a COVID testing company.
Led by the Soros Economic Development Fund (SEDF), the group will invest at least $40million in Mologic — a developer of lateral flow tests and originator of the first at-home pregnancy test, ClearBlue.
What do these tests include? COVID-19 testing, of course. The announcement came by way of Open Society Foundations, which George Soros funds.
While jokes and rumors have been swirling that Gates and Soros seek world domination and control, the pair is part of a group purchasing testing technology from the U.K. developer. They claim they plan to transform it into a social enterprise that can quickly and cheaply diagnose tropical diseases in low-income countries.
A public health expert with Open Society Foundations, Roxana Bonnell, said testing needs to be ramped up in many parts of the world, like Africa.
“As we have seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, access to testing is absolutely essential when it comes to containing the spread of contagious disease — an issue that ultimately affects us all,” she said.
“Testing, or diagnostics, are vital for everyday public health needs, to enable doctors and medical professionals to provide patients with proper treatment as early as possible.”
According to the official statement, “As part of the transaction, [Global Access Health] GAH will integrate both Mologic and a sister nonprofit entity, Global Access Diagnostics (GAD), which was established by the founders of Mologic with support from SEDF, the U.K.’s Department of International Development, and others in April 2020. GAD is focused on low-cost manufacturing of diagnostic tests, and licenses Mologic’s technology in Africa and South Asia.”
The foundation explained their purpose: The Global Access Health (GAH) is “a social enterprise that will seek to expand access to affordable state-of-the-art medical technology through decentralized research, development, and manufacturing in and for the Global South.”
The technology provided by Gates & Soros’ new purchase doesn’t just include coronavirus testing but also technology that can address dengue, bilharzia, and river blindness.
The statement said the acquisition “transitions a world-class for-profit company into a social enterprise and allows it to entirely reinvest its profits in pursuing these goals. This transformation will give it the ability to address gaps in the provision of global diagnostics in low-income communities and regions that profit-focused business has failed to address.”
It also states that “the transaction involves the acquisition by the investing consortium of all Mologic’s existing shares, including those held by two private investment managers, Foresight Group LLP and Calculus Capital.”
Backing the purchase, SEDF’s CEO, Sean Hinton, said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has painfully demonstrated the fundamental inequities in global public health, and in particular the crucial importance of access in low- and middle-income countries to low-price, high-quality life-saving diagnostic tools.”
According to Hinton, the buyout is “a cutting edge commercial business to focus all its resources on solving one of the world’s most pressing public health issues.”
Gates’ move comes as no surprise; he has been a philanthropist of vaccinations in third world countries for some time.
Like when the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation issued a $750million grant to support the work of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) in 2005. Though this was just a grant, it seems Gates has evolved the desire to be an originator of vaccines, not just a financial backer.
As it turns out, Mologic’s extensive work in developing affordable testing for neglected tropical diseases is supported by grant funding from various donors.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has been their most significant donor.
Mologic’s technology appeals to Gates, with its broad application across markets and disease states where they claim that rapid, accurate point-of-need testing can make a significant difference in patient care and patient outcomes.
Chief executive officer of Mologic, Mark Davis, welcomed the conclusion of the deal: “Mologic’s transition into a social enterprise is a deliberate, logical, and natural step for a company focused on delivering affordable diagnostics and biotechnology to places that have been left underserved by the relentless pursuit of profiteering. With the support of our shareholders, donors, and partners, we have come a long way; we believe we have the people and the skills required for the challenges and opportunities ahead. And we hope this unique transaction will be an example for others to follow.”
Gates recently claimed that vaccine formulas shouldn’t be shared with developing countries. Buying up companies that make vaccines could achieve this goal.
In an interview with Sky News in April, Gates paints himself in a certain light, saying “no,” when asked if it “would be helpful” for intellectual property protections to be lifted and vaccine recipes to be shared with the world.
Gates continued, “There’s only so many vaccine factories in the world, and people are very serious about the safety of vaccines. And so moving something that had never been done, moving a vaccine, say, from a [Johnson & Johnson] factory into a factory in India, it’s novel, it’s only because of our grants and expertise that [it] can happen at all.”
According to The Telegraph, last month, Mologic said it planned to sue the British government. They claim Britain has not permitted the test to be used as planned.
University of Essex Law professor Tara Van Ho tweeted, “Gates speaks as if all the lives being lost in India are inevitable but eventually the West will help when in reality the U.S. & U.K. are holding their feet on the neck of developing states by refusing to break TRIPS [intellectual property rights] protections. It’s disgusting.”
Gates speaks as if all the lives being lost in India are inevitable but eventually the West will help when in reality the US & UK are holding their feet on the neck of developing states by refusing to break TRIPS protections. It's disgusting.
— Tara Van Ho (Dr) (@TaraVanHo) April 25, 2021
Nick Dearden, the director of Global Justice Now, tweeted, “Disgusting from Gates here ‘southern countries haven’t had it so bad, they should be pleased to get our excess vaccines when we’re done, there aren’t any idle factories.’ Who appointed this billionaire head of global health? Oh yeah, he did.”
Disgusting from Gates here ‘southern countries haven’t had it so bad, they should be pleased to get our excess vaccines when we’re done, there aren’t any idle factories’ Who appointed this billionaire head of global health? Oh yeah, he did #peoplesvaccine https://t.co/PxnbHjEMfo
— Nick Dearden (@nickdearden75) April 25, 2021