Fulgent Genetics says it plans to sue Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva for defamation over statements he made alleging that the company has ties to the Chinese government, according to the Los Angeles Times.
As the LA Times notes, Fulgent was conducting SARS-CoV-2 testing and tracking the vaccination status of county employees for LA County. But the company alleges that Villanueva, in a bid to avoid complying with the county vaccine mandate, said in a letter to county officials that the US Federal Bureau of Investigation warned him in a meeting against working with Fulgent.
The letter, which spread on social media, further alleged, the LA Times says, that Fulgent collected genetic data on county employees and that that data was likely to be shared with the Chinese government. The LA Times adds that Fulgent denied the allegations, saying it does not sequence the swabs it collects, the samples are incinerated after 48 hours, and it does not share personal data with the Chinese government.
In a court filing, Fulgent attorneys say Villanueva made false claims about the company and that the allegations caused it to lose out on business contracts, the paper adds.