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Genomics and Digital Technology: Advancing Healthcare in the Philippines

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Philippine Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Renato U. Solidum, Jr affirmed that through genomics, it is made possible to predict, diagnose and treat diseases in humans, plants and animals. Additionally, it can help in attaining food security through the improvement of the productivity of crops and livestock.

Science and Technology Fellow publicly revealed for the first time the external evaluation of the genomics programme of the Philippines in an event hosted by the DOST in partnership with the University of the Philippines entitled “From Labs to Lives: Impact of DOST-led Genomics Programme in PH.”

According to the DOST Secretary, it marks a significant milestone in the Genomics Programme of the country, which DOST initiated in 2009 with the first two projects on the Dengue diagnostic test and H1N1 surveillance network.

It features the studies made on a rare disease exclusively affecting men of Filipino ancestry, causing them to be incapacitated to move normally and DOST’s efforts in screening for future development of diagnostic tests. The event also reveals the impact of the new studies in improving the breed and stock of Philippine cows implemented by the Philippine Carabao Centre.

DOST showcased its significant investment in genomics facilities, particularly the new Protein, Proteomics, and Metabolomics Facility (PPMF) at the Philippine Genome Centre in Diliman, Quezon City.

Secretary Renato stated the strategies for promulgating genomics research and innovation in the Philippines include human well-being; wealth creation; wealth protection; and sustainability.

The DOST aims to accelerate the generation of knowledge, technologies and innovations to ensure food security, boost health and strengthen health systems; as well as improve the quality of life. The agency also aims to develop human resources through Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) interventions and build a strong STI culture.

Also, part of the strategy is wealth creation including developing capabilities and application of new emerging technologies such as 4IR, artificial intelligence (AI), and blockchain, among others. For wealth protection, DOST aims to intensify development and transfer more climate and disaster-resilient technologies.

On the other hand, for sustainability, DOST aims to widen its market base reach through an online digital platform and integrate smart practices for managing governance, services, data and system across the city in an open, collaborative, citizen-centric and digitally enabled way.

Digital technology has had a profound impact on genomics research in the Philippines, revolutionising data generation and analysis, enabling precision medicine, facilitating telemedicine and genetic counselling, fostering collaborative research, and promoting the development of bioinformatics and computational biology.

These effects have accelerated genomics research, improved patient care, and contributed to the advancement of genomics as a field of research and application in the Philippines.

Digital technology has enabled high-throughput sequencing, allowing researchers in the Philippines to generate vast amounts of genomic data quickly and cost-effectively. This has led to the development of large-scale genomic databases, which can be analysed using advanced bioinformatics tools to uncover patterns, identify disease-associated genes, and understand the genetic variation in the Philippine population. This has accelerated genomics research by facilitating faster and more comprehensive data analysis.

Through advanced computational algorithms, genomic data can be analysed to identify genetic variants associated with specific diseases or drug responses. This information can be used to develop personalised treatment plans, tailored to an individual’s genetic makeup, which can lead to more effective and targeted healthcare interventions.


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