Tag Archives: Bill Gates

F.D.A. Halts Coronavirus Testing Program Backed by Bill Gates

18 May

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

SEATTLE — An innovative coronavirus testing program in the Seattle area — promoted by the billionaire Bill Gates and local public health officials as a way of conducting wider surveillance on the invisible spread of the virus — has been ordered by the federal government to stop its work pending additional reviews.

The program involved sending home test kits to both healthy and sick people in the hope of conducting the kind of widespread monitoring that could help communities safely reopen from lockdowns. Researchers and public health authorities already had tested thousands of samples, finding dozens of previously undetected cases.

But the program, a partnership between research groups and the Seattle and King County public health department that had been operating under authorization from the state, was notified this week that it now needs approval directly from the federal government.  Officials with the Food and Drug Administration told the partnership to cease its testing and reporting until the agency grants further approval.

“Please discontinue patient testing and return of diagnostic results to patients until proper authorization is obtained,” the F.D.A. wrote in a memo.

The delay is the latest evidence of how a splintered national effort to develop, distribute and ramp up testing has left federal regulators struggling to keep up. Amid concerns about the reliability of a burgeoning number of coronavirus antibody tests — which check whether someone may have previously had the virus — the F.D.A. responded last week by ordering companies to submit data proving the tests’ accuracy.

But the Seattle program does not test for antibodies and has wide backing, including from public health leaders, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Mr. Gates, whose foundation has been deeply involved in fighting the pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also provided an in-person technical adviser to the project.

The Seattle partnership that is conducting the testing, the Seattle Coronavirus Assessment Network, said in a statement that it had been in conversation with the Food and Drug Administration about its program for about 10 weeks and submitted data a month ago.

“We are actively working to address their questions,” the group said.

The program has roots in the Seattle Flu Study, which over the fall and winter had collected thousands of samples from people in Washington State who had symptoms of illness. As previously detailed in The New York Times, researchers there had struggled to get government approval to test those old samples for the coronavirus and report the results.

By the end of February, those researchers ended up doing some testing anyway, discovered the first case of community transmission in the region and provided key evidence that the virus had most likely been circulating for weeks.

Mr. Gates, the Microsoft co-founder who has committed much of his wealth to global public health issues, has backed the Seattle study. He said in a blog post Tuesday that the program could detect cases and help guide public health responses.

“Not only will it help improve our understanding of the outbreak in Seattle, it will also provide valuable information about the virus for other communities around the world,” Mr. Gates wrote

An F.D.A. spokesperson said home collection kits raised additional concerns about safety and accuracy that required the agency’s review. The issue in the Seattle case appears to be that the test results are being used not only by researchers for surveillance of the virus in the community but that the results are also being returned to patients to inform them.


Pls read the rest from the original source— The New York Times


Ethiopia’s acceptance of GMOs turns decades of Pan-African environmental leadership on its head: Thanks to Abiy Ahmed!

23 Apr

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

by Teshome Hunduma*


The restrictive laws in Ethiopia were developed to protect smallholder farmers from becoming indebted to and dependent on multinational corporations for seeds. The multinationals enjoy the privilege offered to them by the World Trade Organization (WTO) –of which Ethiopia is not a member – to control the agricultural inputs including seeds through large global markets and international rules (e.g. patents on GMO seeds).

Contrary to US optimism of Ethiopia’s adoption of GMOs, I see the opposite. If Ethiopia does not demonstrate why the benefits of GMOs for African smallholder farmers and industry exceed the risks, it will lose its Pan-Africanist leadership position in the environmental issues. Post Adwa victory, in the 1920s a West African nationalist newspaper stated that, “… when we speak of our prospects, we speak of the prospect of the entire Ethiopian race. By the Ethiopian race we mean the sons and daughters of Africa scattered throughout the world.” Ethiopia is a symbol of independence and resistance against colonialism in Africa and has earned a reputation for organizing African unity in many areas including the New Partnership For Africa’s Development (NEPAD), and the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP). It may appear that Ethiopia will lead GMO adoption as the US hopes. But the reality is that Africans know that GMOs are not welcome in many parts of the world, including by member states of the European Union.

“Why in Africa?”, is and will be many people’s question. And it is this question that will undermine Ethiopia’s position as a Pan-African leader on environmental issues.

When coming to power, Prime Minister Abiy encouraged all sectors of society to contribute and participate in public debate and policy-making. In this spirit, this piece intended to encourage civil society, policy makers, farmers organizations and scholars to draw their attention to Ethiopia’s changing position on GMOs and agricultural development, putting the needs of Ethiopia’s and the African continent front and center.

Addis Abeba, April 23/2020 – In 2015, the government of Ethiopia opened up the country to genetically modified organisms (GMOs) by loosening the safeguards built into the 2009 biosafety law that were meant to protect against the risks posed by GMOs, and in 2018 approved commercial cultivation of Bt-cotton. Despite this, there has been limited public debate or media coverage on this issue. Yet, this decision breaks with decades of public policy in Ethiopia and can have major implications for Africa as a whole.

The move has recently been praised in a report published by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service in February 2020: “approval of commercial cultivation of genetically modified (GM) insect-resistant cotton (Bt-cotton) and confined field trail on GM maize can be taken as an effort to improve agricultural productivity using modern agricultural tools.” Pleased with the government’s deeds, the report went on to state that the country’s “adoption of Bt-cotton not only has [high] economic importance but [is] also expected to have [a] positive influence on the acceptance of this technology in the region.” Blaming the government for its past precautionary approach to GMOs, the report says Ethiopia is now on track “especially considering that a decade ago the country was at the forefront of the anti-GMO movement in Africa.”

In my opinion, the USDA’s appreciation of Ethiopia’s policy change is driven by a strategic interest for the United States and American multinationals to use Ethiopia as a springboard to expand GMO cultivation in Africa. Ethiopia’s uncritical and hasty approval of GMOs can have consequences for the country’s biodiversity, public health, and the socio-economic conditions of smallholder farmers.

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Meet the world’s most powerful doctor: Bill Gates

27 May

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)
by Natalie Huet & Carmen Paun, Politico
Some billionaires are satisfied with buying themselves an island. Bill Gates got a United Nations health agency in Geneva.

Meet the world’s most powerful doctor: Bill Gates
The software mogul’s sway over the World Health Organization spurs criticism about misplaced priorities and undue influence (credit: Politico)

Over the past decade, the world’s richest man has become the World Health Organization’s second biggest donor, second only to the United States and just above the United Kingdom. This largesse gives him outsized influence over its agenda, one that could grow as the U.S. and the U.K. threaten to cut funding if the agency doesn’t make a better investment case.

The result, say his critics, is that Gates’ priorities have become the WHO’s. Rather than focusing on strengthening health care in poor countries — that would help, in their view, to contain future outbreaks like the Ebola epidemic — the agency spends a disproportionate amount of its resources on projects with the measurable outcomes Gates prefers, such as the effort to eradicate polio.
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Why I am opposed to Dr. Tedros Adhanom becoming the ninth director-general of WHO

10 May

By Keffyalew Gebremedhin The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

For those who are pressed for time, they have my sympathy. As a retired person, I recall how that frays the nerves.

My persuasion in opposing Dr. Tedros Adhanom’s aspiration to become ninth director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO) has benefitted from life experiences, my education at home and abroad, as well as international experiences as a former diplomat for my country and as international civil servant with the United Nations in New York and Geneva.
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Is there unholy alliance between former UK minister & Bill Gates, targeting WHO director-general’s election? What for?

29 Apr

By Keffyalew Gebremedhin The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

The former UK secretary of the Department for International Development (DFID) Andrew Mitchell’s article in The Guardian (April 27, 2017) is rather troubling.

Through its sophisticated expediency, seemingly reliant on questionable Great Powers’ history of collusions and intrigues, the article exudes the interests of a few wanting to continue the same today. It reveals an underhanded effort aiming to ‘determine’ – influence is weaker here – outcome of the May 2017 election of the ninth director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO).
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ዜጎችና የተቃዋሚ ፓርቲዎች አባላት በሚሳደዱባት ኢትዮጵያ ሕወሃት ሃገሪቱን ለግሎባል ፈንድ በጨረታ አቀረባት! ለምን?

7 Feb

በከፍያለው ገብረመድኅን The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)
I. ግሎባል ፈንድና የኢትዮጵያ ትብብር
ግሎባል ፈንድ (Global Fund) በመንግሥታት፣ ሲቪል ድርድቶችና (Civil Society) የግል ዘርፍ የሆኑ ድርጅቶች (Private sector) ለስሙ በጋራ ያቋቋሙት ድርጅት ነው። ተልዕኮውም ከድሃና መካከለኝ የዕድገት ደረጃ ላይ የሚገኙ ሃገሮች ውስጥ የሣንባ ነቀርሳን (Tuberculosis – TB)፣ HIV/AIDSንና የወባ በሽታን (Malaria) ለመከላከልና ብሎም ለማጥፋት እ.ኤ.አ. በ2002 ዓ.ም. ጂኒቫ የተመሠረተ በገንዘብም በጣም ፈርጠም ያለ ድርጅት ነው።

ይህንንም ድርጅት ለማቋቋም ጥንስስ ሃሣቡንና መቋቋሚያ ገንዘቡን ካዋጡት መካከል የቢልና መሊሳ ጌትስ ፋውንዴሽን ከግል ድርጅቶች መካከል በግንባር ቀቅምነት ይጠቀሳሉ።
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Despite Ethiopia’s laws prohibiting plant gene editing, the Gates push GMO into nation’s agriculture

14 Jan

By Keffyalew Gebremedhin The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

“The changing lives of the poor will determine how people think about the [GMO] laws.”
  – Sylvia Mathews, president of the Global Development Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Even insurrectionist?

Bill Gates says genetically modified organisms (GMOs) will end starvation in Africa. Certainly Ethiopia’s laws prohibit the use or production, distribution and utilization of GMO seeds, with limited exceptions.
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Uganda court orders closure of 63 schools backed by Mark Zuckerberg & Bill Gates: Uganda finally exposes billionaires’ profiteering in Africa under guise of philanthropy

6 Nov

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)
by Coror Gaffey, Newsweek

Uganda’s High Court has ordered the closure of more than 60 primary schools run by a U.S. education company backed by Microsoft chief executive Bill Gates and Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg.

An official in the Ugandan education ministry told the BBC that the schools, which are attended by around 12,000 students across the country, would have to close immediately following the court ruling on Friday, despite being it the middle of the school term.
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