Microsoft founder turned philanthropist Bill Gates released a glass full of mosquitoes at an elite technology conference to make a point about the deadly disease malaria.
"Malaria is spread by mosquitoes," Gates said while opening a jar onstage at the Technology, Entertainment, Design Conference — a gathering known to attract technology kings, politicians, and Hollywood stars.
"I brought some. Here I'll let them roam around. There is no reason only poor people should be infected."
First reported on social networking site Twitter, Facebook's Senior Platform Manager Dave Morin blogged, "Bill Gates just released mosquitos into the audience at TED."
Gates then waited a minute or so before assuring the audience the freed insects were malaria-free.
The unusual presentation on malaria prevention was confirmed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's media office. A spokesman said the insects released were not carrying malaria.
Gates retired as head of Microsoft last year to focus more on his foundation. One of its key projects is ending malaria and it has spent millions on fighting the disease.
The philanthropist has been pushing to reduce malaria deaths through the nonprofit. In September, Gates announced that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation would provide $168.7 million to the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative to help develop a vaccine for the deadly disease.