A claim that former US President Barack Obama, Dr Anthony Fauci and Melinda Gates visited the controversial Wuhan Lab in China in 2015 has been found to be fake. The claim was based on an old photograph clicked during Obama and Fauci's visit to a research center of the National Institutes of Health. However, the viral claim has made conspiracy theorists once again target the trio for coronavirus related theories.
The conspiracy theory gained momentum after it was revealed that the US pumped $3.7 million into Wuhan Lab, which is blamed for the origin of global pandemic coronavirus.
What is the Truth Behind Viral Claim?
Earlier this month, the photograph featuring Obama, Fauci and Melinda Gates, during a visit to the lab, started circulating. The caption accompanying the photograph read 'Dr Fauci, Melinda Gates and Barack Obama at the Wuhan Lab.'
Sharing the image, Twitter user Ginny McGonigle wrote: "You mean this Dr Fauci who was with Obama in 2015 in Wuhan Lab where they paid the lab 3.7 million for a 'bat' project? We know that we'll now right? He is of the deep state you get instructions from him. Cut the crap! All to take Trump down!"
However, the claim being made is found to be fake. In its report, Snopes stated that the photograph used in the fake claim does not feature Melinda Gates, but U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell.
The photograph was taken during Obama's visit to the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, in December 2014. The woman explaining the activities in the lab has been identified as Chief of the Biodefense Research Section Nancy Sullivan.
The original photograph is available on the NIH Director's blog with the caption: "Dr. Nancy Sullivan of NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) discussing Ebola research with President Barack Obama as NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci and HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell look on."
Social Media Users React Sharply to the Fake Claims
Despite the claim being fake, it was enough to generate strong reactions from the netizens. "Fauci gave $3.7 Million to Wuhan lab to study viruses in bats in 2015. He & Obama circumvented U.S. law in doing so. Melinda & Bill Gates were in on it too! They are deep state & they developed the Wuhan virus to KILL US. The Chinese spread to the world!" tweeted a user.
"Bill Gates of Hell in charge of it. Did you see the picture of Obama, Melinda Gates and Fauci at the Wuhan Lab in 2015? What the hell were the three of them doing? Just studying up on viruses?" wrote another.
"JUST IN: Dr. Anthony Fauci predicts another virus coming, just like he predicted the last one that came from his partly owned, along with Bill Gates, and George Soros, along with the tax dollars that Obama gave, Wuhan Lab. Go figure? ? ? AND YOU THINK THIS ISN'T ALL PLANNED. ZZZ," read another tweet.