Bill Gates has denied claims from conspiracy theorists that he is trying to use the coronavirus pandemic for his own ends.
The billionaire has hit back at claims circulating the internet over the past few months that suggest he wants to create a Covid-19 vaccine so that he can implant tracking devices in people.
After being told by CNN host Anderson Cooper that researchers found 16,000 posts espousing conspiracy theories about him, the 64-year-old said that while they may offer ‘titillating and simple’ explanations, the claims were unfounded and that he and his charity were working to help people.
He said: “Our foundation has given more money to buy vaccines to save lives than any group, so you just turn that around, you say we’re making money and we’re trying to kill people with vaccines, by inventing something.
“And at least it’s true, we’re associated with vaccines but you have sort of flipped the connection that we have there.
“I hope it doesn’t create vaccine hesitancy. I hope this whole story of innovation that’s going on, that we do get the benefit of that.
“We need to get the truth out there. I hope it’ll die down as people get the facts. The numbers kind of blow my mind, and it’s not just the fringe people [spreading conspiracy theories] that you would normally think of.”
He added: “It’s a bad combination, a pandemic and social media, and people are looking for a very simple explanation – who’s the bad guy here?”
In a separate interview with CBS, Mr Gates said he didn’t have a clue how the rumours had started.
He said: “There’s no connection between any of these vaccines and any tracking type thing at all. I don’t know where that came from.”
Mr Gates has reportedly donated $300 million though the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to finding a vaccine that will work to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Discussing where the science is at the moment, he said a lot more work needs to be done to get to a single-dose vaccine, adding that a global effort will be needed.
He said: “None of the vaccines at this point appear like they’ll work with a single dose. That was the hope at the very beginning.
“If what you’re trying to do is block all the transmission, then you need to get 70-80 percent coverage on a global basis. So it’s unbelievably big numbers.”