Dubai’s ruler approves formation of UAE Genomics Council

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Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai officially approved the formation of a Genomics Council on Tuesday, state news agency WAM reported.

The UAE Genomics Council, headed by Abu Dhabi Executive Council member Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, plans to oversee and guide the implementation of the genome program into the country’s healthcare system.

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The new council has been set up to advance the UAE’s efforts to carry out preventative measures against genetic disorders, disabilities and mortality rates. It will also oversee the government’s execution of the program and propose necessary rules and regulations, in collaboration with health regulators, to govern the field.

Regulating data acquisition and storage, establishing a system for issuing ethics and consent approvals for genomic programs and supporting innovative therapies for rare conditions are also among the council’s responsibilities.

Genomic sequencing can be instrumental in tackling health crises. This is particularly important during the COVID-19 pandemic because it could help authorities identify issues and address them quickly, a bioinformatician for the Gothenburg Global Biodiversity Center in Sweden, Gytis Duda told online news media Nature.

“When there are few [COVID-19] cases, genomics can very quickly tell you what you’re dealing with and therefore guide precision interventions,” said Duda.

Accurate genomic studies could ensure better prevention of genetic and chronic issues in future generations, essentially reshaping the future of healthcare policies, Dubai Media Office reported on Tuesday.

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