Remember the Chinese scientist who shocked the entire world and sent panic among the medical research fraternity by creating the world’s first genetically engineered babies? We featured the story here.
Well the scientist, He Jiankui is now under a house arrest. Jiankui is a researcher at the Southern University of Science and Technology on top of being an entrepreneur. He has two biotech startups in China under his name.
Jiankui made headlines across the world with the claims he made of having used CRISPR to eliminate the gene that plays a role in enabling the HIV virus to infect a cell. He did these on two twin girls that were born in November.
The science communities from across the world almost immediately condemned Jiankui for using such technology on human embryos. The government of China also moved in and shut down his research almost immediately.
It is also now being reported that both Jiankui and his family are in some kind of house arrest. With Jiankui being held at a dorm at the Shenzhen University. Apparently, there are some armed guards who have him confined at the campus where he performed the research in secret.
However, he is still allowed to make phone calls and access his emails. At his residence, security personnel are blocking reporters from accessing it. Some of the members of medical science fraternity say Jiankui duped the human subject into the taking part in his secret and illegal experiments.
“The patients were given a consent form that falsely stated this was an AIDS vaccine trial and which conflated research with therapy by claiming they were ‘likely’ to benefit,” said Alto Charo, a Bioethicist from the University of Wisconsin Biotech.
“In fact, there is not only very little chance these babies would be in need of a benefit, given their low risk, but there is no way to evaluate if this indeed conferred any benefit.”