New Zealand’s New Bill will Unleash a Tsunami of Biotech and Synthetic Foods
By Guy Hatchard
The New Zealand government is introducing the Therapeutic Products Bill, which is an omnibus piece of legislation controlling, among many other things, the availability of Natural Health Products and the introduction of biotech medical interventions. Given our experience of the last three pandemic years, we should be doubting the capacity of governments to protect our interests. Let’s look at what is already happening:
Do we really need legislation facilitating the further implementation of biotechnology in medicine, or do we rather need legislation outlawing its use?
An article in Mother Jones is raising the alarm. Mother Jones is actually a very pro-vaccine publication, so why is it alarmed? A clue is in the title “The DNA of Deadly Pathogens Is Easy to Obtain”. A virologist David Evans has created a close relative of smallpox, a devastating disease that was thankfully eradicated 36 years ago. He was able to do so because he was simply able to order long stretches of the virus’s DNA in the mail from GeneArt, a subsidiary of Thermo Fisher Scientific. Mother Jones summarises:
“Today there are dozens, perhaps hundreds, of companies selling genes, offering DNA at increasingly low prices. (If DNA resembles a long piece of text, rates today are often lower than 10 cents per letter; at this rate, the genetic material necessary to begin constructing an influenza virus would cost less than $1,500.) And new benchtop technologies—essentially, portable gene printers—promise to make synthetic DNA even more widely available.”
An Unregulated Multinational Biotech Industry
The dangers of the wide availability of deadly pathogens is not too hard to figure out for the average citizen, but it is apparently very hard for governments. The United States imposes few security regulations on synthetic DNA providers. In the USA it is perfectly legal to make a batch of genes from Ebola or smallpox and ship it to a US address, no questions asked. A number of nonprofits pushing for regulation are finding it hard to gain traction in the spiralling multinational biotech industry.
The most prominent scientist sounding warnings about the danger of unchecked DNA synthesis is Kevin Esvelt, a biotechnologist at MIT. He explains the problem is that even a recent graduate level biotechnologist would have no problem assembling a bioweapon from readily available synthetic gene sequences. A bioterror attack is only a short time away, according to Esvelt.
Read Full Article at the Hatchard Report
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