PCR Testing and the Genome BeastSat 9:45 am +01:00, 26 Jun 2021
Most people believe that the PCR test is a simple test to take samples to establish whether COVID-19 is present in an individual. Some people, perhaps better informed, may know that the PCR test does not have a good reputation for accuracy in results and may give false readings. Despite this significant weakness in efficacy and accuracy, the PCR test has been promoted with almost religious zeal to the wider population by the UK Government. “Everyone should be regularly PCR tested” is the constant government line.
But is the drive for COVID-19 testing just a smokescreen with regard to the PCR test? The answer to this simple question is a straightforward yes, it is. In reality, the PCR tests have another much more important role, and that is sampling DNA data to facilitate genome sequencing, the name for reading the genetic code for the makeup of the human body.
Before COVID, the DNA sampling industry was limited to working on the medical samples to which it could gain access, together with voluntary DNA samples which an individual might offer if they passed a sample to a genealogy site to determine their family history, for example.
COVID-19 PCR tests, undertaken by millions of people, have changed this dearth of DNA data to a flood of data. And that data is worth money — a lot of money, as we shall see.
In this latest edition of No Smoke Without Fire, entitled PCR Testing and the Genome Beast, Brian Gerrish discusses with Debi Evans her research into the whole subject of genome sequencing and where it leads.
Hidden in plain sight, the genome sequencing industry is a beast of huge scale. Globally, the industry is already worth trillions of pounds, and it is expected to grow rapidly from this already immense financial base. The top ten genome sequencing companies alone had a value of over £635,000,000,000 in 2020.
Debi’s interest in the PCR test began when she discovered that Illumina was the company responsible for COVID-19 PCR testing. Yet it was quickly clear that Illumina was a lot more than it might appear. As Illumina says of itself:
At Illumina, our goal is to apply innovative technologies to the analysis of genetic variation and function, making studies possible that were not even imaginable just a few years ago. It is mission critical for us to deliver innovative, flexible, and scalable solutions to meet the needs of our customers. As a global company that places high value on collaborative interactions, rapid delivery of solutions, and providing the highest level of quality, we strive to meet this challenge. Illumina innovative sequencing and array technologies are fueling groundbreaking advancements in life science research, translational and consumer genomics, and molecular diagnostics.
But Illumina turned out to be just one company of many. The trail led to a very large and murky pond of genome sequencing and related companies, such as Grail, the Wellcome Sanger Institute, UK Biobank, TwinsUK, Amgen, the Mayo Clinic and Genomics England — all of which overlaps with gene editing technology such as CRISPR. Governments and military also come into the picture, with ARIA and ARPA in the UK and DARPA in the USA. British academia is also well entrenched in the system, with Oxford University and Imperial College London being just two of the many institutions at the forefront.
In the mix, the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) appeared strangely silent on the subject of vaccine data. After all, it collected Yellow Card vaccine adverse reaction (ADR) data, but published no details of any safety analysis of the very data it had collected. So where does that vaccine ADR data go?
Similarly with the National Health Service (NHS): a prime collector of DNA data, but producing little public explanation as to where that data has been going and why.
Our discussion also moves on to the people involved in the Genome Sequencing trail. Professor Sally Davies stated in her Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer 2016 that:
Genomics is not tomorrow. It is here today. I believe genomic services should be available to more patients, whilst being a cost-effective service in the NHS. This is an exciting science with the potential for fantastic improvements in prevention, health protection and patient outcomes. Now we need to welcome the genomic era and deliver the genomic dream!
But if Dame Sally’s professional enthusiasm is understandable, just why is former Prime Ministerial chief adviser Dominic Cummings almost high on the subject of genomes? In his personal blog, his language, thoughts, and, we may say, fantasies are both breathtaking and very dark. He clearly speaks of the idea that people can and will be changed, re-engineered and ‘improved’. By implication, we can discern that there is no room in Cummings’ world for the weak and vulnerable. And if people can be integrated with computers and AI, then so much the better.
If Cummings is at least constricted in his efforts within the scope of the British government, we get a better feel for the worldwide power of the Genome Sequencing medico-military industry by reading the World Economic Forum’s white paper of June 2020 entitled Genomic Data Policy Framework and Ethical Tensions, and the World Health Organisation’s Report of the Advisory Committee on Health Research 2002.
Ultimately, our research touches on even wider plans for the ‘benefits’ of genome sequencing and editing: Behavioural Insights, where people can be re-engineered to have the right thoughts, emotions and behaviours, including their being suitably politically aligned in these areas.
It is against this background that we should consider the words of Boris Johnson, UK Prime Minister, who has stated that the UK can become a “scientific superpower” leading the world in these areas.
Would you like to know more? Then please do join us for our initial overview of PCR Testing and the Genome Beast.