Dubai’s health authority has revealed ambitious plans to DNA test all residents of the Emirate, in an attempt to help the UAE in its battle with genetic health conditions.
The remarkable scheme will allow researchers to forecast the future health needs of the Emirate, making it easier for healthcare groups to recruit and train in areas where they know the demand will increase.
Speaking about the plans, Director General of the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), Humaid Al Qatami said: “The authority is looking to target all residents of the emirate of Dubai, focusing on UAE nationals in the first phase of implementation.
“The project's timetable extends over 24 months, during which we will be collecting samples, analysing DNA sequences, and recording the results in the data bank. The following phase involves automated learning and artificial intelligence to issue reports that support research, forecasting future disorders and epidemics, and planning preventative measures.
“Forming genome laboratories in Dubai signals a new phase, where our forecasts for the future of the health and medical services sector begin to materialise. The labs will establish the first national genetic database for future research, lending support to decision-makers as they set plans and strategies for the future of the healthcare sector. This, in turn will ensure Dubai's global competitiveness and strengthens the knowledge economy.”
The labs are set to be mainly based at the Department of Pathology and Genetics and the Dubai Cord Blood and Research Center.
A DHA official statement highlighted how they envisage the plans working. It said: “Instead of studying an affected patient’s genetics, our AI goes through the database, finds out who has been affected, and looks for non-patients with similar genetic profiles who are therefore at risk.”
Only time will tell if the DHA are being too optimistic with their plans to potentially revolutionise healthcare, however the research findings should provide a fascinating insight into the health of the Emirate.
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