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Bill Gates' Foundation Isn't Funding Gene-Edited Mosquitoes "Spreading" Dengue

The claim is false, Bill Gates' foundation hasn't funded gene-edited mosquitoes that are allegedly spreading dengue.

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WebQoof
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A post is going viral on social media to claim that former CEO of Microsoft Bill Gates' foundation is funding genetically modified mosquitoes from Oxitec.

It also states that these kinds of mosquitoes are allegedly the source of widespread dengue outbreak in Brazil.

The claim is false, Bill Gates' foundation hasn't funded gene-edited mosquitoes that are allegedly spreading dengue.

An archive can be seen here.

(Source: Facebook/Screenshot)

(Archives of similar claims can be seen here and here.)

What's the truth?: Bill and Melinda Gates foundation has funded Oxitec for disease-control initiative and not the wing which funds dengue interventions.

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How did we find out the truth?: We performed a relevant keyword search and did not find any credible news reports supporting this claim.

  • We then checked Gates Foundation's official website to check their grants.

  • We found that the foundation has funded Oxitec, a biotech company, five times from 2018 to 2023 but they none of them mention funds towards dengue interventions.

  • The grants address malaria and agricultural development.

  • We have also reached out to the foundation and the story would be updated once we receive a response.

More about Oxitec's mosquitoes: This company develops and releases genetically modified (GM) Aedes aegypti mosquitoes to fight dengue and several other diseases in the world.

  • According to their website, their recent pilot project in Indaiatuba, Brazil, demonstrated the new strain’s effectiveness in suppressing populations of the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

  • This project uses "Friendly™ Aedes aegypti" which carry a self-limiting gene that prevent female offspring from surviving, allowing for male-only production.

  • Given that these mosquitoes released by the company are male only, they do no bite humans, which clarifies that no disease can be spread by them.

  • The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also clarified that these mosquitoes do no pose any kind of risks to humans.

The claim is false, Bill Gates' foundation hasn't funded gene-edited mosquitoes that are allegedly spreading dengue.

Screenshot from CDC.

(Source: CDC/Screenshot)

  • The body has also mentioned the success of the modified mosquitoes in parts of Brazil, the Cayman Islands, Panama, and India to control Aedes aegypti mosquitoes and diseases spread by them.

  • Oxitec has also received a full national biosafety approval for commercial release from CTNBio, Brazil’s biosafety regulatory authorities.

  • Brazil is however, witnessing an outbreak of dengue cases this year.

Conclusion: A false claim about Bill Gates backing a widespread of dengue disease in Brazil to increase the sale of vaccines is going viral on the internet.

(Not convinced of a post or information you came across online and want it verified? Send us the details on WhatsApp at 9540511818 , or e-mail it to us at webqoof@thequint.com and we'll fact-check it for you. You can also read all our fact-checked stories here.)

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