Recent reports in certain international media outlets have focused on BGI’s outreach in the U.S. at the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in January 2020, making misleading claims about the company. BGI strongly denies baseless allegations that are not supported by any evidence.
In response to recent media requests, we have provided a detailed statement that addresses many of the misleading claims put forward, but the media has chosen only used selected parts of our statement.
In order to communicate clearly our position on these media reports, we are reposting our statement in full:
Founded in 1999, BGI is an organization that has for years demonstrated social responsibility, ethics and global collaboration. Our role is to provide research consultation, tools and services in genomic sciences to benefit human health and wellbeing. Our employees have rushed into danger zones to help during public health emergencies around the world. Because of this commitment, our COVID-19 tests are now welcomed globally. It was in the same spirit of reaching out to help that we approached the United States, particularly earlier in 2020 when solutions were limited in the US and urgent action was needed.
In addition to this statement, it is important to note that we offer solutions that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized. BGI does not have access to either patient samples or test data.
The FDA granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for BGI’s SARS-COV-2 test after receiving initial authorization on March 26, 2020 (link) (updated on January 28, 2021). BGI does not have access to either patient samples or test data. Our RT-PCR test kit for SARS-COV-2 is a test for the viral RNA, not for the patient’s DNA. The only BGI products sold directly in the United States are the FDA authorized RT PCR diagnostic reagents for SARS-COV-2 detection, nucleic acid extraction equipment and reagents. These are supplied to clinical laboratories that perform COVID-19 testing. It is not possible for us to share something that we do not have.
BGI pays particular attention to complying with scientific ethics and personal privacy protection at all times, with zero tolerance for any violations of ethics and privacy, and strictly prohibits any business that violates human rights.
BGI does not condone and would never be involved in any human rights abuses. BGI has never been involved in the collection, storage or analysis of personal genetic information with the potential for or the purpose of violating human rights. This is the case in the past, present – and in the future. BGI’s mission is to apply genomics technology to improve public health.
At the time of the inclusion of the two BGI subsidiaries on the U.S. Commerce Department’s Entity List, BGI released a statement on July 21, 2020 (link).
Finally, there has been speculation about the financial backing the company has received. As a leading company in the genomics sector, we are able to obtain lines of credit on commercial terms from a wide range of financial institutions, and we are able to repay these in full.
Throughout its history, BGI has demonstrated social responsibility, ethics and global collaboration, and our employees, have rushed into danger zones to help during public health emergencies around the world, including SARS in 2003, avian flu in 2004, E.coliO104 in 2011 and Ebola in 2014.
BGI was founded in 1999 for the purpose of participating in the internationally renowned Human Genome Project, which achieved history-changing breakthroughs in great part because of a commitment to open sharing and collaboration, which remain today basic tenets of the science of genomics and integral to BGI’s philosophy and mission.