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Genomics and Global Health – WHO

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Genomics and Global Health – WHO

Recently the Science Council of the World Health Organization (WHO) has released its first report focused on accelerating access to genomics for global health.

In which WHO has emphasized the widespread use of genomics in all countries.

It argues that countries with fewer resources get late access to such technologies than richer countries. This is not ethically or scientifically justified.

The Science Council was established in the year 2021 by the Director General of WHO. It aims to provide guidance on WHO’s science and research strategy.

Recommendations of the report focused on four themes:

  • Support the promotion of genomics,
  • Implementation of genomic methods,
  • Collaboration between institutions working in genomics, and
  • Focusing on ethical, legal and social issues (ELSIs) born out of genomics.

Genomics is the study of the entire genome of an organism and the large amount of related information it generates. Genetics, on the other hand, is also related to the study of genetics.

Applications and Uses of Genomics:

  • Human genomics for medical purposes: prevention, diagnosis, prognosis, management, monitoring and treatment of genetic disorders.
  • Microbial genomics for medical purposes: identification of infectious agents, vaccine design, etc.
  • Agricultural and aquaculture genomics: identification of new traits and susceptibility to diseases, etc.
  • Biological and medical research: drug development, discovery of disease-causing genes, etc.
  • Others: Forensic science, genealogy assessment etc.

Genomics related initiatives in India

  • The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) is conducting the project ‘Genome India: Cataloging the Genetic Variation in Indians’.
  • The IndiGen program is being run by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
  • The Indian SARS-CoV-2 (SARS-CoV-2) Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) is organized.

Source – The Hindu

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