latest health care news

13.05.20

Major new study announced to sequence human genomes

As scientists across the UK look to better understand people’s susceptibility to the current coronavirus outbreak, a major new human whole genome sequencing study has been announced to study the genetic code of thousands of severely ill patients to see if a person’s genetics has influenced their vulnerability to the virus.

The study will take place across the NHS, involving up to 20,000 people currently or previously in intensive care with coronavirus, as well as 15,000 individuals who have displayed either mild or moderate symptoms.

The research drive, being launched by Genomics England in partnership with the GenOMICC consortium, Illumina and the NHS, will reach patients in 170 intensive care units throughout the UK and is backed by £28m funding from Genomics England, UK Research and Innovation, the Department of Health and Social Care and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

Multiple NHS hospitals and the University of Edinburgh will facilitate the study, which will explore the varied effects coronavirus has on patients, supporting the search for treatments by identifying those most at risk and helping fast track new therapies into clinical trials.

READ MORE: Convalescent plasma transfusions take place for Covid-19 patients

READ MORE: World’s largest potential coronavirus treatments trial rolled out in UK

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock said: “As each day passes we are learning more about this virus, and understanding how genetic makeup may influence how people react to it is a critical piece of the jigsaw.

“This is a ground-breaking and far-reaching study which will harness the UK’s world-leading genomics science to improve treatments and ultimately save lives across the world.”

Genetic discoveries require very large sample pools of patients and so the GenOMICC study seeks to ultimately recruit every single patient admitted to intensive care across the UK with Covid-19 – though patients will only be enrolled in the study if they, or their next of kin, have given their consent.

So far, as part of the study, DNA samples have been collected from almost 2,000 patients.

iStock-547435764

Genetic discoveries require very large sample pools of patients, with GenOMICC looking to recruit as many patients who have recovered from Covid-19 as possible
 

Chris Wigley, CEO of Genomics England, said: “At Genomics England, we are extremely proud to be working with the NHS and other partners in the fight against Covid-19, to understand why people respond differently to this infection.

“Our goal with this study is to help the national response to this terrible pandemic, using the experience we have gained through the 100,000 Genomes Project, and leveraging our ongoing work in genomic research and healthcare.

“As with all groundbreaking science, we don’t know what the answer is yet – but we are convening the finest minds in academia and industry to try to find out.”

Genomics England will read the data from entire genomes of thousands of people who have been most severely affected by coronavirus and compare them against those who experienced only mild symptoms, looking for clear differences between the genetic blueprints of each group.

Dr Kenneth Baillie, Chief Investigator at the University of Edinburgh, leading this study, added: “Our genes play a role in determining who becomes desperately sick with infections like Covid-19. Understanding these genes will help us to choose treatments for clinical trials.

“The GenOMICC study was launched before this outbreak and it is recruiting in more than 160 ICUs across the country with tremendous support from the critical care community. We are excited to work with Genomics England to tackle this new and complex disease.”

As part of gathering the necessary large sample pool, patients who have already had Covid-19 and now recovered are invited to volunteer to take part in the study. More information on how to register to take part in the GenOMICC study can be found here.

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

featured articles

View all News

last word

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad, president of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), sits down with National Health Executive as part of our Last Word Q&A series. Would you talk us throu more > more last word articles >

health service focus

View all News

comment

NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

23/09/2019NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

Reason to celebrate as NHS says watching rugby can be good for your mental ... more >
Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >

interviews

Matt Hancock says GP recruitment is on the rise to support ‘bedrock of the NHS’

24/10/2019Matt Hancock says GP recruitment is on the rise to support ‘bedrock of the NHS’

Today, speaking at the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) annual... more >

the scalpel's daily blog

NHS at 72: Managing mental health services going forward

03/07/2020NHS at 72: Managing mental health services going forward

Sean Duggan, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Network Let’s take this opportunity to reflect on the amazing achievements of our health system over the past few ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >