Reuters: COVID opens new doors for China’s gene giant
Wed August, 2020, Age: 2 years
As the pandemic has exploded around the world, Chinese companies have sent PPE and rapid testing kits to 180 countries around the world, often distributed through the PRC’s official embassy channels. One of the largest contributors to China’s virus diplomacy is the genomics company BGI Group, which has taken advantage to expand its global footprint. BGI has also distributed genomic sequencing kits and called on international researchers to send in virus data gathered on its equipment and patient samples of COVID-19 victims to be logged on China’s government-funded National GeneBank. Although knowledge-sharing is generally beneficial to scientific advancement, U.S. officials have expressed concern about sharing American citizens’ health data with a country whose biological research has often been unrestrained by consideration of ethical principles and which has conducted research on bioweapons and the weaponization of genomic data.