China Daily European Weekly : 2018-11-30

China News : 14 : 14

China News

14 CHINA NEWS EUROPEAN WEEKLY CHINA DAILY November 30-December 6, 2018 “Genetic editing technology is far from mature and could have unforeseen consequences for the subjects.” and effectiveness during the past days. The Shenzhen Health and Family Planning Commission said on Nov 26 that it had not received any ethical assessment application for the study, which is a prerequisite for such experiments. The Associated Press reported on Nov 26 that He sought and received approval for his project from the ethics committee of Shenzhen Harmonicare Women’s and Children’s Hospital, and an approval document from the hospital was circulated online on Nov 26. However, the Shenzhen commission said the hospital ethics committee’s approval was not valid because the hospital did not register the committee with the commission as required. The commission has started an ethics investigation and will release the results to the public, it said. The hospital would not comment. Southern University of Science and Technology said on Nov 26 that it was not aware of the research, as He did not report it to the school. The university said the academic council of its biology department, where He works as an associate professor, thinks that the research seriously violated academic ethics and in Beijing in Hong Kong By WANG XIAODONG DARA WANG WU ZUNYOU and chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention A Chinese scientist’s attempt to produce the world’s first gene-edited babies immune to HIV has sparked heated controversy among the public and academics. In an online video posted on Nov 26, He Jiankui, a biological researcher, announced that twin baby girls, Lulu and Nana, born healthy a few weeks ago, were conceived through in vitro fertilization and genetically edited for immunity to HIV infection. “The mother started her pregnancy by regular IVF with one difference. Right after sending her husband’s sperm into her eggs, we also sent in a little bit of protein and instructions for gene surgery,” He said in the video sent from Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, Guangdong province. “Lulu and Nana were just a single cell when the surgery removed the doorway through which HIV enters to infect people.” He went to Hong Kong to attend the Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing, a three-day conference on Nov 28. His announcement sparked heated controversy over concerns about medical ethics rules. The university said it would immediately set up an independent investigation team for the matter. A regulation released in 2016 by the former National Health and Family Planning Commission — now the National Health Commission — requires health institutions to establish ethics committees with authority over biological or medical research involving humans that would have to approve the research. The commission has told its provincial branch in Guangdong to investigate the matter and handle it according to laws and regulations. The information should be made public in a timely way, it said in an official release. Bai Hua, head of Baihualin, a nongovernmental organization that promotes the interests of people with HIV/AIDS, says that the parents of the twins were likely to have HIV. He Jiankui spoke with Bai in April last year, hoping to find people with HIV for the research, Bai says, adding that he spread the news and about 200 showed interest. “Of the group infected with HIV, many have special conditions such as an inability to conceive naturally, but the reality is that they cannot have babies through IVF in hospitals,” he says. “Many of them thought the research gave them a chance to have babies who do not have the risk of getting HIV.” Mixed reactions When the news broke, more than 120 scholars from prestigious universities and institutes from China and abroad, such as Tsinghua University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, strongly condemned the research in a signed statement, saying it lacks effective ethics oversight and amounts to human experiments. In the statement published on weibo.com, they said any attempt to change human embryos with genetic editing and allow the birth of such babies entails a high degree of risk due to inaccuracies in existing editing technologies. Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control PRINTED AND DISTRIBUTED BY PRESSREADER PressReader.com +1 604 278 4604 ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY COPYRIGHT AND PROTECTED BY APPLICABLE LAW

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