Data democracy: WHO bats for passing on genomics tech to developing world

Source: The post is based on the article “Data democracy: WHO bats for passing on genomics tech to developing world” published in Down To Earth on 13th July 2022

What is the News?

WHO Science Council has released a report “Accelerating access to genomics for global health” advocating for passing on Genomic Technologies to developing countries.

What is Genomics?

Genomics is the study of all of a person’s genes (the genome), including interactions of those genes with each other and with the person’s environment.

​​The field of genomics uses biochemistry, genetics and molecular biology methods to understand and use biological information in deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA).

What does the report say on Genomics?

Access to genomic technologies needs to be expanded, especially for Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMIC).

It is not ethically or scientifically justifiable for countries with fewer resources to gain late access to such technologies.

Shortfalls in the financing, laboratory infrastructure, materials and highly trained personnel need to be addressed to expand access to genomic technologies.

What are the recommendations given by the report?

Promote the adoption or expanded use of genomics in all Member States through advocacy by many parties.

Identify and overcome the practical issues that impede the implementation of genomics through local planning, financing, training of essential personnel, and the provision of instruments, materials, and computational infrastructure.

Foster commitments to collaborative activities to promote all aspects of national and regional programmes that advance genomics in the Member States.

What is the WHO Science Council?

It was established in April 2021 by WHO Director. 

It is composed of 9 leading scientists and public health experts from around the world.

The council advises the Director on high-priority issues and advances in science and technology that could directly improve global health.

It identified genomics as the focus of its first study, given the significant implications for public health.

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