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Current Affairs

Refusal for DNA sample in Russia

Date: 21 February 2022 Tags: Biotechnology

Issue

World leaders, who were in Moscow recently, refused to undergo Covid-19 test due to fear of providing DNA sample.

 

Background

DNA is a powerful tool to understand the secrets of one’s body. This knowledge has high chances of misuse.

 

Details

  • German chancellor Olaf Scholz refused to undergo swab test neither did French President Emmanuel Macron.

  • Since both the leaders are in favour of Covid-19 preventive measures, it was assumed that they did not agree for test fearing genetic material exposure.

 

Importance of genetic material

  • DNA could be a tool for international espionage and every person is fearful of the material in the hands of adversary.

  • It can be used to identify ancestors and also certain genetic diseases or genetic abnormalities associated with diseases or medical conditions.

  • At present it does not have specific application but a well preserved DNA sample could be misused in future for individually targeted bio-weapon.

  • Russia already uses an espionage method known as kompromat, where an individual is blackmailed by threatening to release embarrassing information about them.

 

Objections

  • The rules and conditions imposed by Russian officials for foreign dignitaries to be present near Russian President were not acceptable and hence a long table was used.

  • Germany says that they followed the same procedure that it mandates foreign dignitaries. They can conduct their own RT-PCR tests in presence of a neutral qualified doctor.

 

Reasons for mistrust

  • Germany and France are NATO members, which was formed as opposition to Soviet Union during the cold war.

  • Russia has accused NATO of using Ukraine to underestimate Russia and the military buildup was in opposition to such a move.