Athugið þessi frétt er meira en 2 mánaða gömul.

Covid research broke data protection law

30.11.2021 - 15:43
Mynd með færslu
 Mynd: RÚV - Guðmundur Bergkvist - RÚV
The data protection agency has concluded that the processing of personal data conducted by Landspítali national university hospital and deCODE genetics during COVID-19 research did not fulfil legal requirements. The hospital and the company will not be fined, however, due to the unusual situation and the threat faced by Icelandic society by the then-new pandemic.

The agency’s conclusion says concerns were raised when blood samples from patients at Landspítali were sent to deCODE for further analysis in early April last year. The samples were sent as part of research called “Epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2-virus and the effect of genes and underlying illnesses on the COVID-19 disease it causes”. 

The blood samples were taken before the scientific ethics committee granted a licence for the addendum. 

The data protection agency says it is not permissible to start processing personal data for scientific research in the health field unless ethics committee permission is secured. Explanations received from Landspítali and deCODE do not match up and the authority therefore concludes data protection laws were broken. 

The agency adds that given the threat to Icelandic society caused by COVID-19, and the strain the healthcare system was under, no fine has been charged. 

The case is one of three the agency has finished looking into that relate to relations between deCODE, Landspítali and the office of the chief epidemiologist during the early stages of the pandemic. 

Testing for antigens and antibodies was found to have been within the law, though the epidemiologist’s office contract with Landspítali did not fulfil the current law to the letter and a new contract is therefore called for. 

The data protection agency also concluded that data processed at deCODE was kept sufficiently secure. That investigation pertained to the period between August last year and February this year when Landspítali was processing covid tests at the premises of deCODE, as capacity was limited at the hospital.  

Click to follow RÚV English on Facebook.

alexandere's picture
Alexander Elliott
Fréttastofa RÚV