A Washington Post investigation has revealed an ambitious effort by China to expand its biotechnology sector significantly, with sometimes controversial research, to keep up with (or overtake) the U.S. and other Western powers while failing to ensure adequate safety measures kept pace. AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) urges China or any nation conducting research with dangerous, highly-infectious pathogens to ensure the utmost security and oversight measures are implemented beforehand.
“The news of China’s move to dramatically increase its biotech sector, including genetic engineering, without first ensuring ample security measures is beyond worrisome – it’s irresponsible and potentially endangers everyone worldwide,” said Dr. Adele Schwartz Benzaken, AHF Senior Global Medical Director. “We implore China to do the right thing by ensuring an adequate portion of the billions of dollars it’s putting into increased laboratories, research, and experimental medicines goes to commensurate security that will bolster defenses against serious lab accidents – like the leaked bacteria that cause brucellosis in 2019 in Lanzhou and potentially SARS-CoV-2 in Wuhan the same year, which remains to be seen. The world cannot afford another pandemic unleashed upon it.”