US diplomats and security officials have specifically warned Nevada against using Chinese-made coronavirus test kits donated by the UAE, due to concerns about patient privacy, testing accuracy, and the involvement of the Chinese government, documents obtained by the Associated Press show.
The Associated Press said, in a report published today on its website, today, that the documents show how the US government tried to keep the country away from a project in which the Chinese company “BGI Group”, which is the largest genetic sequencing company in the world, has expanded its spread during the Coronavirus pandemic.
The agency said that US intelligence agencies have warned that foreign powers such as China could exploit the samples to discover the medical history, diseases or genetic features of Korna test applicants, although they have not provided any public evidence.
Emails and internal documents obtained by the AP from the Nevada governor’s office through a public records request show that US authorities have specifically expressed concerns about Chinese BGI scanners.
William Puff, Regional Attaché to Homeland Security at the United States Embassy in Abu Dhabi, wrote in an email to Nevada officials the test kits that Abu Dhabi donated: “I hope that the leadership of the Nevada COVID-19 task force is aware of this so they can take An informed decision and knowing some of the concerns of the US government. “
Warnings from the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department led the office of Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak in April to direct a Nevada hospital not to use any of the 250,000 test kits donated by the UAE.
The Associated Press said that the offer to donate the devices to Nevada also included a donation from an anonymous Emirati company known as “Group 42”, which has a partnership with Shenzhen-based Chinese company BGI to establish a rapid testing system in the UAE. The agency said that government officials in the UAE did not respond to repeated requests for comment on this matter.
In response to AP inquiries, BGI said in an email that “G42” had made the donation to Nevada on its own without BGI’s knowledge and that BGI had never had direct contact with the state.
BGI’s COVID-19 tests have received approval from the FDA for emergency use and are used in some laboratories in the United States – but “BGI does not have access to patient samples or patient data.”
The UAE had proposed building a laboratory to examine corona similar to the laboratory it built in Abu Dhabi, in the state of Nevada, and the unusual Emirati offer came at a time when the United States was witnessing a shortage of testing devices.
In an email sent to Nevada state officials on April 20, the Homeland Security Attaché raised concerns about the potential risk of Americans sharing their medical samples with the Chinese company BGI.
“The embassy has concerns about the UAE’s G42 relationship with the Chinese government and BGI, and concerns about patient privacy,” Puff wrote in his letter. “The directive we received from the US State Department is that we should reject devices provided by G42.”
According to the message, the Nevada governor’s office quickly responded to the warnings of Pave and other US officials that same day. Michelle White, Nevada’s Chief of Staff, wrote in an email that she “strongly recommends that these tests and any use of Emirati testing equipment be discontinued immediately.”
The Associated Press said that the US National Center for Counterintelligence and Security had warned state health officials of “potential threats posed by foreign powers in connection with COVID tests.” That’s even after the FDA approved Chinese tests of BGI and others for use in emergency situations.
The US embassy in Abu Dhabi had rejected an offer made by the UAE government months ago to conduct a free coronavirus test for its diplomats, due to its concerns about China’s participation. This information has also not been released to the estimated 75,000 Americans living in the UAE. In response to questions from the Associated Press, the Foreign Ministry refused to provide any details about its discussions with the UAE government.