A telling piece in The Nation this week reports some of the conflicts of interest the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation holds in the world’s quest for a COVID-19 vaccine. According to the article, the foundation’s investments in companies working to develop COVID-19 vaccines put Gates “in a position to potentially reap considerable financial gains from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The Nation cites the example of the foundation’s $40 million stake in CureVac, a German pharmaceutical company whose stock soared 400% after going public in August. A similar Nation article from earlier this year reported the Gates Foundation also holds corporate stocks and bonds in drug companies Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis and Sanofi, and the foundation gives these same companies charitable grants for projects like developing new drugs.
AstraZeneca, the British pharmaceutical company that gained an exclusive license to control the COVID-19 vaccine produced by Oxford University research, is considered a frontrunner in the vaccine race. According to The Nation: “Gates himself described his foundation as intimately involved in the partnership between AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford.” Gates had the leverage to push the university … because the foundation is one of the founders and largest funders of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, which in turn funds the University of Oxford’s vaccine development (to the tune of some $384 million).”