Thailand prepares to compete in genomic research

Bangkok: Thailand has set its sight on becoming Asean’s genomic medicine leader within five years.

“We have already secured a budget of 4.47 billion baht (RM589.8mil) for the five-year Integrated Genomics Thailand Plan,” Public Health Minister Dr Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn revealed on Friday.

Genomics is an interdisciplinary field of biology focusing on the structure, function, evolution, mapping and editing of genomes.

“Genomic technologies will allow more efficient diagnoses,” Piyasakol said at the Genomic Thailand Inception Workshop.

Joining the event were representatives from relevant authorities, including the National Science and Technology Development Agency, the Thailand Centre of Excellence for Life Sciences, the Medical Sciences Department and Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation Ministry.

According to Piyasakol, Thailand has already examined the genomes of 50,000 people.

Among the sample are healthy people as well as various groups of patients, including those battling cancer and some rare diseases.

“We believe genomics has the power to improve patients’ quality of life and make a difference in Thailand’s healthcare sector,” the minister said.

He said a centre for genomic research and development would be established at Burapha Univer­sity to support the goals of delivering medical services with greater accuracy and quality at a personalised level.

He said genomics would help reduce treatment costs and would also boost Thailand’s competitiveness at an international level.

“We trust that tangible results will be visible within the next year,” he added. — The Nation/Asia News Network