BAHRAIN has become the first country in the Middle East to acquire and inaugurate the use of a cutting-edge machine for human genome sequencing.
Supreme Council for Health (SCH) chairman Lieutenant General Dr Shaikh Mohammed bin Abdulla Al Khalifa launched the operations of the cutting-edge NovaSeqTM X Plus machine yesterday.
He highlighted the ongoing efforts within the National Genome Project, which aims to utilise gene sequencing in adopting effective national health policies as well as therapeutic and preventative management plans.
Health Minister Dr Jalila Al Sayyed noted that acquiring the machine came within the efforts of using the latest technological trends in the health sector and developing the National Genome Centre.
Dr Gregory Ysert, general manager of Emerging Markets at Illumina, said that NovaSeqTM X Plus can generate more than 20,000 whole genomes per year – 2.5 times more than the previous capacity.
“We look forward to contributing to the National Genome Centre’s goal in the kingdom by employing technology to gain a better understanding of diseases and potential genetic risks, through developing healthcare plans,” he added.
The National Genome Project was launched in Bahrain in 2018, and awareness campaigns have been initiated by public health institutions to encourage community participation in the programme, with a target of collecting 50,000 samples by 2024.