Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a photograph is going viral with the claim that it shows former American president Barack Obama, along with Melinda Gates, Dr Anthony Fauci visiting Wuhan lab in 2015.
"DR. FAUCI, MELINDA GATES AND BARACK OBAMA AT THE WUHAN LAB IN 2015…!!!! You mean this Dr Fauci who was with Obama in 2015 in the WuHan lab where they paid the lab 3.7 million for a 'bat' project?" reads the caption of one such post.
In the photograph, Obama can be seen conversing with a woman in a white lab coat in a laboratory setting, while Fauci stands in the background with another woman.
Dr Anthony Fauci is the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and a member of the White House coronavirus task force.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has donated funds to GAVI Foundation, an organisation on the forefront of making vaccine available to countries who can't afford it.
Barack Obama, Dr Anthony Fauci and Melinda Gates visited a lab in Wuhan, China in 2015.
The claim is false.
A reverse image search led to a blog post by Dr Francis Collins, the NIH Director from December 2014.
"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," reads the caption of the post.
According to the article, former President Barack Obama had visited the campus of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD to witness the biomedical research that was being conducted against Ebola virus disease. The President had toured the NIH Vaccine Research Center and met with scientists who were working with the deadly virus.
Therefore, the lab is not situated in Wuhan, China contrary to viral claims.
More photos from the visit were found in the AFP register. The photos were taken by AFP photographer Mandel Ngan.
Does The Photo Show Melinda Gates?
The caption of the blog post clearly states that the photo shows HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell along with Dr Anthony Fauci.
Below is a comparison of photographs of HHS Secretary Sylvia (right) and Melinda Gates (left):
The photos show that they are two separate individuals.
What Is The Bat Project?
The Trump administration terminated funding for a years-long research project in China, that many experts say is vital to preventing the next major coronavirus outbreak, in April 2020.
Reportedly, the project was run by a U.S. non-profit called EcoHealth Alliance.
As part of the project, teams were sent to China to trap bats, collect samples of their blood, saliva and faeces, and then check those samples for new coronaviruses that could spark the next global pandemic.
The objective was to identify locations that need to be monitored, come up with strategies to prevent spillover of the virus into human populations and get a jump on creating vaccines and treatments.
3.7 Million Fund
The viral posts also claimed that "they paid the lab 3.7 million for a 'bat' project,".
The NIH grant was actually $3.4 million which was, awarded to EcoHealth Alliance.
Back in 2014, the organization first received the grant which was renewed in 2019 for another five years, EcoHealth's spokesman, Robert Kessler, had told Factcheck.org in May 2020. Reportedly, EcoHealth received $292,161 in 2019 (part of the total $3.4 million that it received) and NIH terminated the grant in April.