A Chinese the company offered to build covid-19 test laboratories i USA at the beginning of the pandemic, with intelligence services warning that it could have been an attempt to collect DNA according to US citizens, according to a “60 minutes” report.
Named the largest biotechnology company in the world, BGI Group offered to build and operate test laboratories in Washington, New York and California, among other places.
The offer aroused suspicion and led Bill Evanina, then head of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, to warn states against the offer.
“Foreign powers can collect, store and exploit biometric information from COVID tests,” Evanina said in a public statement. according to “60 minutes. “
Evanina, like many officials, worries that China could use companies like the BGI Group to collect biodata, which he believes poses a national security threat as the world begins to pay more attention to such assets.
Biodata can determine the path of care, indicating the types of medical problems that occur now or in the future, enabling an entity to create a monopoly over the therapy or drugs needed to treat them, he told “60 Minutes. “
“This shows the unfortunate mindset of the Chinese Communist Party, to take advantage of a global crisis like COVID,” Evanina said. “We provide counseling not only to all Americans but also to hospitals, associations and clinics.”
“Knowing that BGI is a Chinese company, do we understand where the data is going?”
Evanina said he believes China is aggressive in controlling a commodity that most people do not currently value. He may have prevented states from accepting BGI Group’s offer, but Evanina warned that Chinese companies have been investing in US biotechnology companies for several years. BGI had already developed partnerships with US hospitals long before the pandemic started.
“It’s your past and your future as well as your children’s future,” Evanina explained to “60 Minutes.”
“It’s very risky and I think the unknown is probably the most risky part.”
BGI Group denied any of the alleged motivations.
“The notion that U.S. citizens’ genomic data is in any way compromised by BGI’s operations in the United States is unfounded,” BGI said in a statement.
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