Friday, February 3rd | 12 Shevat 5783

April 13, 2020 9:18 am

Report: Israel-China Coronavirus Lab Deal Stalls Over DNA Database Access

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avatar by Israel Hayom /

A Magen David Adom worker on the way to test a patient with symptoms of COVID-19 (coronavirus), in Jerusalem, March 16, 2020. Photo: Yonatan Sindel / Flash90. – Israel’s largest healthcare provider, Clalit, has decided not to cooperate with a Chinese government company on coronavirus testing, for fear that it would compromise the DNA data of its 4.9 million members, the N12 news site reported Sunday.

The Israeli government intended to contract for the Chinese firm to supply six coronavirus testing laboratory facilities, complete with equipment and testing kits. However, Israel’s desire to protect its DNA database is holding up the deal.

The N12 report noted that no country gives other nations access to its DNA database, which is considered a sensitive national asset that can be used for good purposes, such as developing medicines, but can also be exploited.

Israel is negotiating to add a clause to the contract that would bar China from accessing the DNA database, the report said.

The delay in the finalization of the deal is apparently one factor why Israel is not conducting the daily number of tests it aimed to be carrying out by this time.

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