As House Oversight and Senate hearings have focused heavily on the origins of COVID-19 and the dangers of gain-of-function research, a familiar name has been revealed with potential ties to the current H5N1 virus that is being spread among dairy cattle and chickens. In 2009, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation provided a hefty $9.5 million grant to UW-Madison and virologist Yoshihiro Kawaoka to work on making bird flu more susceptible to human transmission.

This has been at the forefront of the discussion regarding the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the lab-leak hypothesis for COVID-19. American tax dollars are funding gain of function research. However, NIH officials use semantic word games to say the coronavirus research lab was not conducting this type of research in Wuhan.

The 2009 press release announcing the multi-million dollar grant said, “To facilitate early recognition, Kawaoka and his colleagues will look for mutations in viral proteins that allow avian influenza viruses to bind to human receptors or facilitate efficient replication in human cells. Avian viruses don’t generally infect human or other mammalian hosts. But every once in a while, a mutation occurs that allows avian viruses to adapt to human cells. That is generally when a pandemic occurs.”

Kawaoka and his research partner Ron Fouchier received heavy criticism for the dangerous research they did to spread H5N1 with ferrets. Dr. Peter McCullough pointed to this research in his post on X. He said, “This indicates that the Gates Foundation funded bioterrorist-like activities involving H5N1, providing blueprints for other bad actors who may want to create a bioweapon.”


The purpose of this research is to prepare vaccines for the potential mutations that may occur in pathogens with pandemic potential. As the H5N1 campaign gains more steam, the public is left wondering whether this pathogen has a lab or zoonotic origin. Former CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield said H5N1 has to undergo several specific mutations to become transmissible to humans, leaving a zoonotic origin very improbable.

Redfield said that virologists know the specific pathways to make the virus transmissible between humans and that it could be done within months inside a laboratory. In 2019, the Gates Foundation provided another grant to Kawaoka up to $2 million to develop a universal flu vaccine.

Peter McCullough identified a USDA lab in Athens, Georgia, as the potential source for a lab leak of the H5N1 pathogen that is currently infecting dairy cattle and chickens around the United States. McCullough said that definitive causality has not been determined but has called for a moratorium on H5N1 gain-of-function research to prevent a man-made pandemic.

The lab in question received $114 million in funds from Congress to expand in 2016. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funded at least one avian flu study at the lab with researcher Vincent Guyonnet regarding the struggles of developing a marketable bird flu vaccine for poultry. Guyonnet also has connections with Gates as he worked as a team leader for the Gates-funded Livestock Vaccine Innovation Fund from 2015 to 2017. Guyonnet also worked with Pfizer for nearly 13 years and ended his tenure in 2004.

Guyonnet is a current board member at Intelia, which provides artificial intelligence (AI) solutions for poultry farmers. Their products involve sensors that detect, collect, and provide data to farmers regarding their flocks. One goal of the sensors is to detect diseases early to prevent outbreaks.

The USDA has offered programs to farmers that value $28,000 over three months on farms with an H5N1 outbreak. $3,500 has also been offered to farms to update their biosecurity practices. One hundred twelve dairy farms have confirmed cases of H5N1 around the U.S., but only 18 farms have accepted the USDA offer so far.

Dr. McCullough said on X, “This suggests that most farmers prefer to avoid invasive government interventions that could compromise the integrity of their livestock.”

Farms in Michigan have reported attempts by the government to inspect their farms, despite having no jurisdiction. Hidden Creek Farms reported receiving an unannounced visit from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD). As the vehicle made it to the end of their property, three people got out of the car and started spraying a “mystery solution” on the tires and the side of the vehicle.

The vehicle drove up to the house before the farmers could return to the driveway. The farmers found this action very rude and an instance of trespassing because MDARD does not have jurisdiction to regulate herd share agreements. A herd share agreement involves individuals purchasing a percentage of the dairy herd in exchange for a certain amount of raw milk. Direct consumer sales of raw milk in Michigan are illegal except under herd share agreements, which is similar in many other states.

Hidden Creek Farm found the visit from MDARD to be wholly unnecessary and a violation of their property rights. They sprayed a chemical solution to prevent potentially spreading the H5N1 pathogen, but they had no reason to visit the farm in the first place. Hidden Creek Farm is a no-chemical spray farm. The Nourish Co-Op in Michigan was raided by MDARD for selling raw milk.

Kawaoka, the virologist who worked on H5N1 with funding from Gates, also authored the recent flawed raw milk study that concluded drinking raw milk is a risk for transferring H5N1 to people. The one-health approach to prevent zoonotic diseases focuses heavily on the surveillance of farmers to detect diseases before they spread.

The FDA issued a letter to “state, territorial, local, and tribal health partners” to urge them to enact additional restrictions and surveillance on farms that sell raw milk. They also tell health officials to spread the word about the risks of raw milk consumption, which include “Health risks include illness, miscarriages, stillbirths, kidney failure, and death.” The source for this information goes to an FDA page that does not provide specific material proving the claims of these health effects.

The FDA, meanwhile, insists on downplaying the severe side effects of the COVID-19 vaccination, saying that the benefits outweigh the risks. The agency admits in the letter that “we do not know at this time if the HPAI H5N1 virus can be transmitted to humans through consumption of raw milk.” The CDC is still reporting that the public risk of H5N1 is low.

The start of the H5N1 livestock outbreak may be directly tied to Bill Gates, who is also the largest private owner of farmland in America. Gates has significant investments in synthetic meat and plant-based burgers. The surveillance of small farms and the latest push for RFID cattle tags is likely to price small farms out of the market. This can pave the way for Gates and large, corporate producers like Tyson and Cargill to control a bigger share of the market.


Steven Middendorp

Steven Middendorp is an investigative journalist, musician, and teacher. He has been a freelance writer and journalist for over 20 years. More recently, he has focused on issues dealing with corruption and negligence in the judicial system. He is a homesteading hobby farmer who encourages people to grow their own food, eat locally, and care for the land that provides sustenance to the community.

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