Article written by our subscriber William:
There are a number of agendas at work with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, but few realise that the COVID-19 testing program is the largest covert genomic surveillance program globally, writes William Morya.
The coronavirus pandemic which is being hyped through the mainstream media of the world has taken an ominous turn for the worse in recent times.
First came the gruesome stories of fatalities as the SARS-CoV-2 virus supposedly spread from China through other countries, with the media talking up the potential of similar fatalities as a result of the coronavirus.
This then shifted to a focus on the number of infections rather than actual fatalities (which doesn’t necessarily mean anything as it appears the large majority of people who contract the virus feel perfectly normal).
This has led to the latest shift to “test, test, test” everyone – even if they don’t feel sick and they’re not at risk.
In order for any of the COVID-19 tests to be conducted, they need to collect genetic samples from everyone. This makes the COVID-19 testing program the largest covert genomic surveillance program globally.
COVID-19 testing processes
There are four different techniques employed with COVID-19 testing: reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR – the current standard test for COVID-19); loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP); lateral flow; and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).
Each of these tests requires the collection of your genetic material, usually through taking a sample from your upper respiratory tract. In this process a collection swab is pushed deep into your nose, throat or nasopharynx (the space that connects the two) – collecting your cells in the process. Other methods of collection genetic samples are sometimes employed (such as collection of blood samples) depending on the test.
Testing stations then collect your personal details so that they know who the genetic sample belongs to and who to report the coronavirus test results back to.
Privacy and genetic testing
Some countries and their testing stations do not require subjects to sign anything acknowledging that their genetic information is being collected. Some countries will require those undergoing testing to sign consent forms (such as this one) which mention “collection” – but not what they are actually collecting, ie your genetic information. And others (such as this one) claim that the process is anonymous (which is impossible otherwise how would they know whose test results belong to which people).
The process employed in COVID-19 testing process is officially known as surreptitious genetic testing, which happens when a sample containing a person’s genetic information is accessed without the knowledge or consent of that person and when that sample is tested without the knowledge or consent of that person.
Those conducting the COVID-19 tests are usually unwitting players in this process and will acknowledge that they are only interested in analysing samples to test for the presence of the coronavirus or antibodies. And the pathology labs which analyse the results are just doing what they’re being paid (very well) to do, and don’t have the interest to collect and analyse your genetic information for other purposes.
Motives for DNA collection
The problem lies in what is done with this information, where it is stored, who has access to it – and for what purposes. After collecting your genetic information, there are a range of places where your DNA is stored including public health unit databases which act as a centralised reporting and storage repository, as well as private companies (sometimes referred to as biobanks).
If you have undergone a COVID-19 test (or are thinking about getting one), ask yourself these questions: do you know where the test results – with your unique genetic information and makers – are being stored? Do you know who has access to them? Do you know if any third parties have access – or even backdoor access?
Agreements are being struck (without your knowledge or consent) for your genetic information to be shared across the globe – with organisations including pharmaceutical and other companies involved in the vaccine business.
The COVID-19 Host Genetics initiative, for example, includes 127 studies in a global collaboration to investigate the genomes of those infected by coronavirus. And there’s another innocent-sounding initiative underway such as the International COVID-19 Data Research Alliance – co-founded and funded by the likes of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Why is genetic privacy important?
There are many good reasons to be cautious about the harvesting of your genetic information. Your DNA is a unique marker of your identity, and it reveals many things about you, your health and your family. There are many companies who are vying to capture your DNA from the moment you are born. Some states are even assembling huge banks of DNA or blood from newborns, often without parents’ permission.
Big pharma wants your DNA, and it was 23andMe revealed a $300 million USD deal with pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline that gives them access to aggregate customer data. Calico Life Sciences, a medtech company owned by Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is the also primary research partner of Ancestry.com. These companies actively profit from data-sharing agreements with research institutes and the pharmaceutical industry.
Third party sharing is common practice among companies, and this is a particular risk for your genetic information which is being collected in the COVID-19 testing process. Companies can use genetic test results to manage the risks for all employees, for example by controlling the activities of those who are most vulnerable. Businesses will also see opportunities to use genetic test results in the marketplace, for example by tailoring insurance offerings according to genetic risk. Currently, there are some limited legal protections against genetic discrimination and health privacy intrusions, but the pandemic has already led the US Government to scale back some of important privacy protections.
The bottom line
No matter the intended or actual use, surreptitious genetic testing is ethically and legally problematic. In each of the examples described above, the potential for harm – whether in the form of unjust discrimination or another consequence – is generated by your genetic information having been harvested without your knowledge.
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