China’s quest for human genetic data spurs fears of a DNA arms race
Most of Europe was in lockdown in April 2020 when a plane arrived in the Serbian capital bearing a well-timed gift from the People’s Republic of China. Inside was a Chinese invention called the Fire-Eye, a sophisticated portable lab that could detect coronavirus infections from tiny genetic fragments the pathogen leaves behind.
And that, as Serbians soon discovered, was the least of its capabilities.
The Fire-Eye excelled not only at cracking the genetic code for viruses, but also for humans, with machines that can decipher genetic instructions contained within the...