Statement on Reuters' publication on BGI: GenePlanet has its own EU based laboratory for analysing NIPT samples

22 July 2021

GenePlanet uses BGI technology for NIFTY sample analysis, as this is the most validated and the most used technology worldwide. GenePlanet has its own EU based laboratory, which operates according to EU data protection regulation. In addition to that, all personal data for NIFTY by GenePlanet is processed through an ISO 27 001 certified online platform. Even though NIFTY interpretation technology is the same in every NIFTY laboratory globally, that does not mean that samples are sent to the same location.

 

In this statement, we want to address the contents of the article1 written by Reuters about the BGI and NIFTY test. Reuters contacted GenePlanet in April 2021 about their upcoming article to comment on the allegations raised by US intelligence. Different sources perceive them as a result of the intensification of "relations between Western governments, especially the USA and Communist China". GenePlanet could not have addressed them before Reuters published their piece.

 

GenePlanet is an official distributor of the bestselling NIPT (Non-Invasive Prenatal Test) product globally, but it is important to understand the difference between NIFTY and NIFTY by GenePlanet. Both products are GDPR compliant, but in the case of NIFTY by GenePlanet, samples are processed and stored in an EU based laboratory, all personal data is stored/not leaving the EU, and not shared with any third parties.

All personal data for NIFTY by GenePlanet is processed through an ISO 27 001 certified online platform, a unique case on the NIPT market landscape in the region and wider.

 

During the communication with GenePlanet, Reuters concluded that GenePlanet or NIFTY by GenePlanet is "not transferring samples or any personal data without signed consent which gives each customer all relevant information, nor that GenePlanet (and partners) are linked to the Chinese military".

 

GenePlanet has also encountered several articles2 with misleading conclusions as the authors do not distinguish between NIFTY interpretation technology and NIFTY lab process. Even though NIFTY interpretation technology is the same in every NIFTY lab globally, that does not mean that the samples are sent to the same location. They are never sent to BGI's facilities in the People's Republic of China, which was also confirmed by BGI3.

 

GenePlanet has been using BGI technology to perform NIFTY tests since 2013, as this technology is proven as the most reliable worldwide (based on the biggest validation study of NIPT technology). The company grew into the biggest provider of NIFTY tests in Europe. The main reasons for NIFTY by GenePlanet's success are:

 

  • EU based ISO certified high-tech laboratory where NIFTY samples are analysed and stored according to EU data protection regulation and in accordance with time limit defined under the law for claims for damages against the controller concerning the lawfulness of the processing of personal data.
  • Digitalised process for NIFTY by GenePlanet test through GDPR and ISO 27001 compliant application where all patient-related information is anonymised and treated according to valid data protection regulation through entire process and storage.
  • The most reliable NIPT technology on the market due to the biggest validation study performed4 and used by more than 9 million women globally.

Several misleading and unproven pieces of information from Reuters' article were pointed out in BGI's official reply5. GenePlanet would like to additionally comment on a concrete case from Slovenia, which was mentioned in the Reuters article. In 2019 BGI published a cancer-related study6 where GenePlanet participated (in 2017) based on one client's own wish. She gave an additional blood sample and signed an additional consent. She was also informed about the study's location, Shenzen in PR China.

The research was performed as a stand-alone project and was not related to NIFTY commercial operations, which the article implies. Feedback from the study saved this patient's life due to incidental findings.

  

In summary, all the articles available to GenePlanet lead to the same conclusion: there is no indication of a violation of data protection regulations anywhere concerning NIFTY or NIFTY by GenePlanet. However, GenePlanet is committed to closely monitoring this situation and addressing any future concerns immediately to provide their client's safety.

 

In every aspect, NIFTY by GenePlanet remains the safest and the most often sold test in the region. GenePlanet is doing everything in its power to offer the best support to our partners and clients in the safest way possible.

 

Yours, GenePlanet

 

 

[1] https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/exclusive-prenatal-test-developed-with-chinese-military-stores-gene-data-2021-07-07/

[2] https://www.bild.de/politik/ausland/politik-ausland/chinas-gen-experiment-noch-groesser-daten-von-oesi-schwangeren-betroffen-77029854.bild.html  

[3] https://www.scmp.com/tech/tech-war/article/3140811/bgi-denies-it-shared-genetic-data-pregnant-women-chinas-military-and 

[4] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25598039/ 

[5] https://www.bgi.com/global/company/news/bgi-statement-in-response-to-reuters-report/ 

[6] https://www.nature.com/articles/s41436-019-0510-5?proof=t