A social media post claiming that Bill Gates is being sued by the Indian government for the death of girls following a vaccination trial for cervical cancer is found to be fake.
In 2009, a group of eligible girls (10-14 years) were vaccinated with human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, a cervical cancer vaccine. The vaccination in India was part of the global project, titled "HPV Vaccine: Evidence for Impact" which was also carried out in Peru, Uganda and Vietnam.
What led to the fake news?
The viral post that has been shared widely on the social media features a photograph of Bill Gates along with Dr Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House coronavirus task force.
The caption accompanying the photograph reads: "Well, well, well, Globalist population control Bill Gates shortly after his India trip with Dr Fauci. I knew I did NOT trust Dr. Fauci, and now I know why. For those of you who follow closely Bill Gates is a globalist who funded the Coronavirus vaccine and owns the Wuhan lab in China. Soros is his partner. India is suing Bill Gates because he vaccinated 77,000 third world girls between the ages of 9 & 15 and many of them died."
However, Lead Stories, a fact-checking website found the photograph to be an old one and bearing no connection to the deaths of the girls in India. The website reported that the photograph dates back to December 11, 2018, when it was clicked during a workshop between the NIH and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Bethesda, Maryland.
Fauci who was one of the participants at the workshop was clicked in the original photo along with Gates and Dr Francis Collins, MD, the head of the NIH, who has been cropped out of the one being circulated on the social media.
The truth behind the deaths of the girls
In India, the state governments and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) tied up with the American NGO, Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH), to carry out the project in three blocks falling the districts of Khammam, Andhra Pradesh and Vadodara, Gujarat. The NGO undertaking the PATH and study was funded by a grant from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
However, in India, the project was suspended in March 2010 following the deaths of seven girls, five from Andhra Pradesh and two from Gujarat, who had received HPV vaccine under the project.
The inquiry committee found that the girls died due to causes unrelated to the vaccine. The report found that one girl drowned in a quarry, another died from a snake bite, two committed suicide by consuming pesticides, one died from complications of malaria, another died possibly from high fever and the last one from a suspected cerebral haemorrhage.
Indian authorities are not suing Bill Gates
According to The Quint, the committee upon finding irregularities such as improperly obtained consent forms, the committee suggested the suspension of the project. "The Committee has identified several deficiencies in the planning as well as implementation of the project, which led to the crisis requiring suspension of the study," quoted the website.
Quoting ICMR's director-general, microbiologist Vishwa Mohan Katoch, while rejecting the connection between the HPV vaccine and the deaths Snopes reported: "Based on the enquiry, it is certain that causality of the seven deaths was not at all related to the HPV vaccine."
The website further claimed that the Union Government in a warning letter issued to PATH asked them to be 'careful while conducting clinical trials so as to ensure that discrepancies and violations are not repeated in future."