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Friends and allies: The Gates Foundation and British scientists


This is the third article in a series

IN THE previous instalments I explored the extraordinary hold Bill Gates has over global health policy and the spread of its influence right into the heart of British public health policy via the funding by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (GF) of science businesses, foundations and public bodies through a complex web of interconnection and crossover of personnel. 

This, however, is not the sum total of the GF’s reach into the world of British science and public health. It has been funding British university science departments, projects, and individuals for more than two decades. The topics involved include research into and manufacturing of vaccines. 

No government-appointed science committee has influenced public health policy as much as Sage. Many of its members, who cross over with Independent Sage and Nervtag and are already somewhat compromised by connections to the GF-funded GlaxoSmithKline and Wellcome Foundation, are also employees of universities and colleges which have received massive GF grants and, in some cases, work in partnership with them. Three of Sage’s members, Professors Graham Medley, Andrew Rambaut and Matt Keeling, are individual recipients of grants from the GF. 

Earlier this year a Sage subcommittee, the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling, Operational sub-group (SPI-M-O), commissioned three university departments to conduct modelling research, a scaremongering exercise that was to be the basis of Sage advice to the Government. 

Readers may remember the three modelling papers produced by Imperial College London (ICL), Warwick University and the London School of Tropical Hygiene and Medicine (LSHTM) which received considerable press attention at the end of March, and their dramatic simultaneous warnings of a ‘third’ Covid-19 wave and new lethal variants; cautioning (yet again) how this will put the NHS under stress. All recommended stricter lockdowns, Test and Trace and, tellingly, booster vaccines.  

SPI-M-O had assigned each university a specific task: ICL’s was ‘Evaluating England’s Roadmap out of Lockdown’, Warwick’s to produce ‘Road Map Scenarios and Sensitivity’ and LSHTM’s to make an ‘Interim roadmap assessment: prior to Step 2’.

Promoting the ICL paper was none other than the multi-tasking Sage member Professor Neil Ferguson, co-founder and Principal Investigator of the Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis (MRC GIDA) at Imperial College, a centre that works closely with the GF, the Global Fund and Gavi, Vice Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, School of Public Health at ICL, a Director and Adviser at the World Health Organisation (WHO) and a recipient of cloud computing time from Microsoft and Amazon for Covid-19 modelling. 

Notorious for churning out alarmist modelling and for advocating Chinese lockdown policy, in this latest paper Ferguson turned his attention to vaccines. It said that current vaccines on their own would be ineffective in keeping new variants under control. A few weeks later, though neither a virologist nor immunologist, he was insisting on the necessity of vaccine boosters. 

Warwick’s paper emphasised the ‘danger’ of new variants to an even greater degree than the ICL paper. It warned that ‘stringent methods’ would be needed to counteract them and that the current vaccination programme might not adequately contain them.

The paper produced by the LSHTM group was the most pessimistic of all. It warned that a ‘third wave’ and new variants would bring a high death toll. It also stressed the need for Test and Trace which, together with that other Sage recommendation, vaccine passports, is the new formula for digital slavery and a surveillance state. 

How Ferguson, whose modelling methodologies and predictions had been so comprehensively discredited, was getting away with this repeat performance seemed baffling,  but for the fact that as a key member of the SPI-M-O subgroup he had been able to commission the new modelling research as well as that of supportive colleagues at Warwick University and the LSHTM.

Curiously, several SPI-M-O members turn out to be affiliated to one or another of these three universities too and are the very same academics who wrote these modelling papers. Given that they have commissioned themselves and sit on the subgroup, no independent assessment or scrutiny of their work has taken place. This is the epitome of jobs for the boys and girls.

Here are the SPI-M-O members connected to ICL:

Professors Neil Ferguson (Sage), Stephen Brett, Nicholas Grassly, Steven Riley, Wendy Barclay (Sage) and Drs Marc Baguelin, Samir Bhatt and Tim Lucas. Ferguson and Baguelin contributed to the ICL paper. 

Here are the SPI-M-O members who work at Warwick University:

Professor Matt Keeling and Drs Louise Dyson, Edward Hill, Michael Tildesley and Joe Hilton. Keeling, Dyson, Tildesley and Hill are four out of five authors of the Warwick paper. 

The following SPI-M-O members are connected to the LSHTM:

Professors John Edmunds (Sage), Mark Jit, Graham Medley (Sage), Drs Nick Davies, Rosalind Eggo, Sebastian Funk, Thibaut Jombart, Petra Klepac, Adam Kurcharski, Rohini Mathur, Sam Clifford, Elizabeth Fearon, Gwen Knight and Bill Quilty. Edmunds, Jit and Davies are three out of four of the authors of the LSHTM paper.

The Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, is a member of both Sage and SPI-M-O. 

It will surprise few readers to learn that ICL, Warwick University and the LSHTM, are historically heavily funded by the GF.

The GF made its first grant to ICL of $31.9million in 2000. ICL received a further $46.7million from the GF in 2006 to research tropical diseases. The GF granted ICL a total of $446,205 in 2019 for research into enteric and diarrhoeal diseases, technology solutions, malaria, and ‘Discovery and Translational Sciences’. In 2020 it gave ICL a total of $91.5million for studies into polio, tuberculosis, global health, technology solutions, malaria, HIV, Discovery and Translational Sciences and family planning.

Last January, Sage member Professor Sir Mark Walport was appointed chair of the Imperial College Academic Health Science Centre (AHSC) Strategic Partnership. His ICL colleagues Professor Robin Grimes and Dr David Halpern sit on Sage too. Professor Ferguson and two ICL colleagues, Professors Wendy Barclay and Peter Openshaw, are members of Nervtag as well. 

Warwick University’s GF funding goes back to 2015. An initial grant of $20,000 from the GF rapidly increased to a current total of $8.3million. In 2017, the GF awarded Warwick University $3million to research disease modelling, and in 2020 $2.2million to study neglected tropical diseases. 

The LSHTM received a $40million GF grant for malaria research in 2000, with other grants in 2008 totalling $60million. More recently, in 2019, it was awarded a total of $15million, including £1million for Aids research, and in 2020 a further $1.5million for vaccine development.

Sage member Professor Yvonne Doyle works at the LSHTM as does Nervtag member Professor John Edmunds and Independent Sage member Professor Martin McKee. Professor Edmunds was recently a recipient of a grant worth £5million from UKRI, which collaborates with the GF, to study disease modelling in Africa. 

The late Professor Val Curtis, a member of Independent Sage, also worked at the LSHTM. 

Predictably, none of the recent modelling by this closed shop takes into account the economic damage, social disintegration or consequences of lockdown, or the neglect of non-Covid-19 diseases as a result of lockdown and social distancing policies. Yet all this is now extensively catalogued. The conflicts of interest and cross over with these government advisers and highly directed research in universities heavily funded by GF, which has one narrow vision global vaccination agenda, is alarming. 

Even more alarming is that it is on this basis that an unaccountable and unelected body has effectively dictated Government policy and our lives this past year. Its controversially modelled predictions of worst-case scenarios, none of which to date have been borne out, have been useful for two things: terrifying the populace into submission and priming the government, and us, into further lockdowns next autumn and winter – and establish them as the ‘new normal’. 

Whether the men and women named here are useful idiots for Gates, or self-servers without moral compass, such scientific narrow vision reflects very poorly on them and their institutions.

The tentacles of the GF are everywhere. In the final part of this series I will be looking at its funding of the Oxford Recovery trials, Cambridge Science Park, its interconnections with the AstraZeneca project, its funding of several other universities, and finally at its investment in Serco, one of the outsourcing companies behind the Test and Trace programme. 

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Karen Harradine
Karen Harradine
Karen is an anthropologist and freelance journalist. She writes on anti-Semitism, Israel and spirituality. She is @KarenH777on Twitter.

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