Coriell, based in New Jersey, northeastern USA, “sells to another series of researchers and institutions.
The point is that Coriell ends up selling this to at least eight countries ”, said the undersecretary -device minister- of Higher Education, María del Pilar Troya.
The Huaorani case also involves the oil company Maxus, which ceased operations in Ecuador in the 1990s, and the Harvard University School of Medicine, both in the United States. In mid-June, Coriell claimed that in 1991 he received from an investigator, who did not identify, "a single tube" containing a "lymphoblastoid cell line established from a blood sample from a Huaorani individual."
The sample was delivered by a Harvard researcher, according to the National Secretariat for Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation.
The Coriell Institute added that the sample was grown to produce cells, from which DNA was extracted, before being withdrawn in 2010, so it is no longer available for research. However, the undersecretary emphasized that “that (cell line) was sold for investigative purposes.
It was detected that from the late 1960s to the present, in total there were 3,500 procedures (for taking samples) of different levels, ”he said.
According to the official, “blood samples were taken from the Huaorani. In some cases also tissues and only 20 percent signed some type of consent ”.
The case was denounced by Ecuador in 2012. Two weeks ago, President Correa said that "there is no federal law in the United States that provides a legal basis for the lawsuit in court against Coriell, Maxus or the Harvard investigators." However, Correa emphasized that Ecuador persists in its decision to sue.
The Ecuadorian president maintained that the blood was subjected to "experiments" because the Huaorani, who until decades ago had no contact with civilization, are "immune to certain diseases." The Huaorani nationality is currently made up of about three thousand people, according to indigenous organizations.
The Taromenane and Tagaeri clans survive from it, the only two nomadic peoples still in voluntary isolation that move in a wide jungle area.