UK Government launches NEW National Genomics Healthcare Strategy

The new strategy aims to secure the country’s position as a global leader in Genomics and establish it as “the most advanced genomic healthcare system in the world”.

The new healthcare strategy, Genome UK: the future of healthcare, brings together the UK genomics community to utilise the latest advances in genetic a genomic science, and research and technology. This will enable them to offer patients the best predictive, preventative, and personalised care based on genome sequencing.

These are the three key areas the strategy focuses on:

  • Diagnosis and personalised medicine – genomic technologies will be used to identify the genetic causes of rare diseases, infectious diseases, and cancer.
  • Prevention – the use of genomics to accurately predict the risk of chronic diseases.
  • Research – the use of data-sharing and cross-sector collaboration.

During a statement made in September, Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock, said, “The UK is using its expertise in genomics right now to advance our understanding of Covid-19, develop new treatments, and help us protect the most vulnerable.

“The UK is already recognised around the world as a global leader in genomics and this strategy will allow us to go further and faster to help patients right here in our NHS and give them the best possible chance against a range of diseases.”

This directly relates to the current UK-wide study being conducted by the University of Edinburgh in collaboration with the NHS, Genomics England and the GenOMICC consortium to determine the role individual genomics play in the development of severe cases of Covid-19.

Leader of the study, Dr Kenneth Baillie from the Roslin Institute, at the University of Edinburgh, said, “When we see patients dying of Covid-19, doctors and nurses in intensive care units often ask – why them?

“Why did this person become desperately sick, while other similar people are relatively unscathed?

“We know that this is partly due to genetics. More importantly, we know that if we can find the specific genes that are responsible, in some cases, that can lead us to new treatments.”

Prof Dame Sally Davies initially called for a national strategy in the 2016 annual report of the Chief Medical Officer, which reviewed everything that has been covered in the 2020 strategy.

For a deeper analysis of the strategy, click HERE.