Nov 5, 2019 - World

Scientists illegally handed over biomedical research to China

Illustration of scientist handing a test tube with the Chinese flag to another person.

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The National Institutes of Health and the FBI are tracking down scientists who are stealing biomedical research and giving it to China, with nearly 200 investigations in progress at academic research centers, the New York Times reports.

The big picture: "The alleged theft involves not military secrets, but scientific ideas, designs, devices, data and methods that may lead to profitable new treatments or diagnostic tools," per NYT.

By the numbers: So far, about 12 scientists have resigned or have been fired from universities and research centers.

  • There are 180 cases involving potential theft of intellectual property from 71 medical schools in the U.S.
  • The NIH sent 18,000 letters last year urging administrators who oversee government grants to be vigilant.
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