DNA Sovereignty and the Coronavirus

The Coronavirus vaccine is the first vaccine ever in human history, to use RNA transcription methods. The new type of vaccine gives your body genetic information to copy, and gives instructions to your body for copying that genetic information(1). Coronavirus testing, which has become mandatory for many people who want to keep their jobs and places in school, involves a harvesting of their DNA and the use of a type of Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test(2). The samples from positive tests are now being sent through federal channels of labs and for the first time in history this information is being put in the Public Domain with identifying information attached. The potential for this system to be used to discriminate against American citizens is extraordinary. Over the years, abuses of Big Data by companies who sell biometric information to the highest bidder, and by governments who target dissidents and other protesters, exemplifies the reasons why every American should oppose this national database.

In the years leading up to the Coronavirus and government restrictions, many countries participated in genomic sequencing for battling diseases, and the fight to keep human DNA owned by those humans has been a back and forth struggle. In the USA, the FBI and Police agencies have constructed their own genomic databases, or worked with labs, or sued genetic testing companies like Family Tree DNA(3) and Ancestry.com for information which might lead to an arrest.

(Florida)“While the largest cities typically operate public labs and feed DNA samples into the FBI’s national database, cities like Melbourne have assembled databases of their own, often in partnership with private labs that offer such fast, cheap testing that police can afford to amass DNA even to investigate minor crimes, from burglary to vandalism.” (4)

The FBI database is used to stop criminals, but the increased use of such data has led to a perception that such data in the hands of the government is important. It is unconstitutional for our government to spy on us, but pretending for a moment such data is important, genetic information for non-criminal purposes is another thing altogether. Humans should be and have been sovereign over their own DNA, legally, and researchers should be aware of this fundamental principle confining their activities. Some admit they are aware.

“This issue is not only about science, but also about sovereignty and equity,” says Marie-Paule Kieny, a vaccine researcher at INSERM, the French national health-research institute in Paris.” (5)

Two decades ago, countries shared genetic data for scientific purposes in the Public Domain, but with limited identifying information attached(6). In 2008, a new global organization was started. The Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data was launched to share genomic data in a private domain. Under contractual obligation, people who access the data could see the identifying information, but would not legally be allowed to share it. This was said to be in the interest of privacy. However, with a sudden shift away to the loose protection of the private domain, the privacy of DNA itself was being eroded by GISAID’s existence.

Since it began collecting your DNA, the GISAID now boasts a whopping 1,057,192 COVID-19 genomes(7). The GISAID claims to share information responsibly, but that may be changing. Over the last several years, a major push has been observed by governments globally, to gain rights over the DNA of people within their borders. This is, in spite of the fact that most common citizens have no idea it is even happening.

The Kuwaiti government in 2016 implemented a policy of harvesting the DNA of all within its borders. 60% of those within Kuwait are non-citizens and are mainly SE Asians who work in Kuwait and send money back to their families. They work in slave-like conditions that can result in their death or at least a sharp decline of their health over a short time-frame, as Kuwait is not only, arguably the hottest place on earth, but was a region of oil fires about 30 years ago. Oil and Depleted Uranium particles may hang on any given piece of sand one breathes in.

“If you’re a science fiction fan, you may remember the 1997 movie “Gattaca,” about a future dystopia in which mandatory genetic testing is used to compile a national database of citizens. The future government uses this info to decide who’s entitled to lucrative high-status professional careers, and which unfortunates with inferior genes are relegated to sweeping up their offices at night…Kuwait (has) become the first nation in the world to require everybody there—residents, expatriates and foreign visitors—to provide a sample of their saliva or blood to government collectors, so that DNA can be extracted and included in a comprehensive national database…That includes all babies older than six months, who will have to give a DNA sample before their parents can register them as citizens.” (8)

In 2019, under the Trump Administration the USA began harvesting DNA from all migrants held at the border. The Biden Administration quietly continued the program, that might be controversial if the public knew anything about it. One news report was all the attention given to the continuity of that policy; the same attention given when the policy was enacted to begin with. (9)

In March 2020 the Trump Administration signed into law the Coronavirus Relief Bill, which among other things allotted 500 million dollars for a new database of genomic data(10). The CDC has made COVID-19 genomic data Public Domain since March 2020, unbeknownst to many. The Relief Act passed in 2020 by trump gave 50 million to genomic sequencing and testing, but Biden gave 1.75 billion to that cause among others, and 500 million to the CDC directly(11). One billion dollars will be spent on boosting “vaccine confidence.” (12)

“CDC has kicked off the SARS-CoV-2 Sequencing for Public Health Emergency Response, Epidemiology and Surveillance (SPHERES) consortium, which will greatly expand the use of whole genome sequencing (WGS) of the COVID-19 virus…This national network of sequencing laboratories will speed the release of SARS-CoV-2 sequence data into the public domain.” (13)

In February of 2021, hundreds of scientists signed an open letter stating their desire to see genomic data shared more openly by all countries in the world(14). Some of those scientists represent genomic databases of their own, and call for researchers to give data to their databases instead of the GISAID database. Also in February, in light of the scandal of a Chinese company, BGI, having their DNA testing kits distributed accidentally within the USA, US Senators called for more protection of Americans’ genomic data(15). As scientists call for open sharing and Senators call for protection of data, the future of the privacy of human genetics appears to be at a crossroads.

In March this year, the United States launched an initiative to expand the CDC’s database program, with a massive open database of genomic data called Broad. The Viral Genomics Group, which has analyzed over 5 million samples in its time, will expand greatly to accommodate the Broad project. (16)

The COVID Relief Act claims to use genomic data to “forecast and track hotspots for COVID–19, its variants, and emerging biological threats.”
The bill includes language stating that the DNA of Americans will be used to discriminate against them and their neighborhoods and to lump those together as “emerging biological threats.” The fact that they appear ready to use the military to surround and control such threats doesn’t bode well for the lives of Americans, or for liberty, nor does it resemble the Republic promised by founding fathers like James Madison in the Federalist Papers.

Health is set to become the new Forever War, and you’ve been Drafted. All Americans and citizens of every country globally, should become Conscientious Objectors in this new war, and protect each other from the systematic oppression of their governments. Do not punish each other for what is already great suffering, in an ethical dilemma without an objective solution, where nothing is certain but more suffering.

  1. https://futurism.com/neoscope/potential-covid19-vaccine-hacks-dna-build-immunity
  2. https://discoverysedge.mayo.edu/2020/03/27/the-science-behind-the-test-for-the-covid-19-virus/
  3. https://thehill.com/policy/technology/428020-at-home-dna-testing-company-working-with-the-fbi-report
  4. https://www.technocracy.news/police-routinely-building-dna-databases/
  5. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-00305-7
  6. https://www.gisaid.org/about-us/history/
  7. https://www.gisaid.org/
  8. https://www.globalsecurity.org/org/news/2016/160519-kuwait-dna.htm
  9. https://news.yahoo.com/us-start-collecting-dna-people-202652842.html
  10. https://www.wired.com/story/coronavirus-relief-bill-promotes-surveillance-health/
  11. https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/1319/text#toc-H54473A43946E4E59A75E78D9B42C20F7
  12. https://apnews.com/article/what-is-inside-covid-19-bill-relief-package-52fa93ac75d38eae4cd3dbb6402e7eba
  13. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2020/p0501-SARS-CoV-2-transmission-map.html
  14. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-00305-7
  15. https://www.bioworld.com/articles/503002-us-senators-more-protection-needed-for-genomic-data
  16. https://www.broadinstitute.org/news/broad-expands-covid-19-viral-sequencing-efforts-variant-surveillance-northeast

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