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Experts Horrified by Leaked CRISPR Baby Study

Chinese scientist He Jiankui’s creation of the world’s first gene-edited human babies was undoubtedly one of the most impactful science stories of 2018.

But for as much attention as the experiment received, the paper detailing it was never actually published — until now.

On Tuesday, MIT Technology Review published excerpts from a copy of He’s manuscript, titled “Birth of Twins After Genome Editing for HIV Resistance,” which it obtained from a source earlier in 2019.

The outlet also shared the manuscript with a legal scholar, a doctor specializing in in vitro fertilization, an embryologist, and a gene-editing specialist — and the experts’ reactions to He’s CRISPR baby study confirm that it was an absolute ethical nightmare.

The MIT Tech Review story highlights 13 problems the experts found with the paper, not least of which is the fact that the researchers behind it never managed to actually prove their claims that the experiment was “successful.”

Additionally, the experts note that He and his co-authors seem to have made deliberate attempts to conceal some key information, such as by not naming the doctors involved in the experiment.

In other instances, He’s team appears to have outright lied, for example by noting in the manuscript that the twins were born in November 2018 when people familiar with the experiment have said the birth occurred in October.

The experts told MIT Tech Review that reading the manuscript not only left them concerned that the parents involved in the CRISPR baby study only participated to gain access to in vitro fertilization — and not to prevent their offspring from inheriting the father’s HIV — but also that the doctors involved in the experiment might not have even known what was happening.

“Approaching this document, I was hoping to see a reflective and mindful approach to gene editing in human embryos,” Rita Vassena, scientific director of assisted reproduction company Eugin Group, told MIT Tech Review.

“Unfortunately, it reads more like an experiment in search of a purpose,” she continued, “an attempt to find a defensible reason to use CRISPR/Cas9 technology in human embryos at all costs, rather than a conscientious, carefully thought through, stepwise approach to editing the human genome for generations to come.”

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Underworld

US coronavirus medicine will cost $ 3120

Gilead Sciences, an American biopharmaceutical company, has announced the value of its coronavirus drug. The general course of treatment for 5 days will have a price tag of $ 2,340.

Until September, remdesivir will be sold only in the United States. The cost of a full course of treatment for people with private insurance is $ 3,120, for an ampoule – $ 520. For patients with state insurance, as well as for patients from other countries, the price of the drug will be $ 2,340 per course and 390 per bottle.

Remdesivir was approved in early May for the treatment of coronavirus in the United States. Although the drug was originally developed to combat Ebola, it was not able to show visible results against this disease. But later, the drug had an effect in the treatment of SARS and MERS infections.

A large clinical study by the National Institute of Allergology and Infectious Diseases showed that the drug reduced recovery time by an average of four days, but did not affect the number of deaths.

Since the United States has a fairly large network of insurance institutions, the importance of remdesivir is not only in its benefit to the patient, but also for the healthcare system.

“Based on the example of the United States, an earlier discharge from the hospital will save her about $ 12 thousand per patient,” said Daniel O’Day, director general of Gilead Sciences.

Since receiving permission for emergency use of the drug, Gilead Sciences has transferred remdesivir to hospitals to treat patients. The last batches of donated drugs were distributed on Monday, June 29th.

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In Germany, for almost 30 years, the authorities secretly gave orphans to pedophiles

In Germany, the University of Hildesheim published the final report on the scandalous Kentler project – a terrifying social experiment, during which for about 30 years children were given up for adoption to pedophiles, calling it molestation “socialization” and “sexual education,” Deutsche Welle writes.

In the 1960s in Germany, people in some circles viewed sex with children not as taboo, but as something progressive. One of the key figures in such thinking was Helmut Kentler, professor of psychology and pedagogy in Berlin. For a long time he was considered a seer and one of the most prominent sexologists in Germany. His books on education sold well, he was a popular expert and commentator on radio and television, and held leading positions in the Berlin center for educational research. 

The psychologist founded the theory of “emancipatory sexual education”, suggesting that children have the right to express their sexuality. Beginning in the 1970s, he conducted clinical trials in which pedophiles were allowed to adopt homeless teenage boys aged 13 to 15 for their “mutual benefit”. According to Kentler, pedophiles could become particularly loving adoptive parents.

By 1988, the professor summed up the results of the first stage of the experiments, calling it successful. He argued that sexual relations between adoptive fathers and minors are harmless and help adolescents quickly adapt to society and facilitate the process of growing up. The fact that the boys entered into adulthood with a broken psyche did not bother Kentler.

The experiments were secret, but were carried out with the full approval of the authorities of West Berlin. In his papers, the psychologist wrote that he “managed to enlist the support of responsible local authorities”: from academic institutions to state social welfare services.

For many years, the professor managed to convince the authorities of the normality of his ideas, so he was never prosecuted by the court. By the time his victims made statements, his statute of limitations had expired. The scandal flared up only in 2015; Kentler himself died in 2008.

When the full-scale investigation began, it turned out that there was a whole network in which officials from the Berlin Office for Juvenile Affairs, the city Senate and a number of educational institutions were involved. All of them “accepted, supported and defended” the experiment and its adult participants. In addition, it was possible to establish that among the adoptive fathers were, including eminent scientists from the Max Planck Institute, the Free University of Berlin and the Odenwald school, which are now suspected of pedophilia. (By the way, the Odenwald school was already the subject of litigation in 2014, when a case was launched on the corruption of minor students.) According to Marco and Sven, who became victims of the experiment, one person, The suspect in involvement in this system – the former head of the youth welfare service – is still alive. However, no investigation has yet been made.

The first report on the Kentler experiment was published in 2016 by the University of Gottingen. Researchers then stated that the Berlin Senate did not seem interested in clarifying the truth.

Berlin senator for youth and children Sandra Sheres called the results of the investigation of the University of Hildesheim “shocking and terrifying.” She openly expressed her sympathy for the victims and condemned the crimes, which she calls “simply unimaginable.” Although the statute of limitations for these crimes has expired, Sheres promised financial compensation for the suffering.

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Largest ever CIA cyber weapon secret data leak

The reason for the largest secret data leak in the history of the CIA in 2016 was the negligence of elite personnel who focused on creating a new cyber weapon to the detriment of improving the security of computer systems. 

This is written by the American publication The Washington Post with reference to the organization’s internal report, which was written in 2017.

It is noted that the leak was discovered only a year after it occurred, after the WikiLeaks organization published a large archive called “Vault 7”. At the same time, the report says that the CIA might not have known about the leak if WikiLeaks had not released the documents. 

“If the data got to the enemy state and remained secretly with them, we would not know anything about their loss,” the report said.

The authors of the documents also wrote that the exact size of the stolen information could not be established. It probably reaches 34 terabytes, or 2.2 billion pages. It is noted that the level of security system developed by the CIA cyber division was “terribly weak”.

After an internal investigation as a result of leakage under suspicion of transferring WikiLeaks about CIA operations data was Joshua A. Schulte, a former employee of the security services. He was one of the developers of programs that the CIA uses to hack into computers of people suspected of terrorism. In March 2020, the jury could not reach a verdict in the Schulte case.

The archive “Vault 7” mentioned software developed by the special service that allows access to phones running iOS and Android, computers running Windows and smart TVs by Samsung.

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