Emirati Genome Program opens additional sample collection centers across Abu Dhabi

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  • Number of sample collection centers has increased to 15
  • Emiratis of all ages are encouraged to participate in the Emirati Genome Program, which aims to better predict and prevent genetic diseases

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates: The Department of Health (DoH) has announced that new sample collection sites have been launched as part of the Emirati Genome Program’s expansion in Abu Dhabi.

Sample collection sites participating in the Emirati Genome Program now include the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), Biogenix Labs in Masdar City, Al Towayya in Al Ain, Al Ain Convention Center and CurePlus Medical Centre, Al Ain. This is in addition to NMC Healthcare’s network in Abu Dhabi, which includes NMC Royal Hospital in Khalifa City, Bareen International Hospital, NMC Specialty Hospital, Al Ain, NMC Royal Medical Center- Abu Dhabi and NMC Royal Women’s Hospital.

Citizens can also visit Burjeel Hospital’s network of medical facilities in Abu Dhabi, which include Burjeel Medical City in Mohamed Bin Zayed City, Burjeel Oasis Medical Center in Madinat Zayed, Burjeel Medical Centre in Deerfields Mall, Burjeel Medical Center at Al Shamkha and Burjeel Royal Hospital, Al Ain.

All Emirati citizens are invited to take part by visiting one of the program’s sample collection sites and providing a single blood sample. A team will be available at all sample collection sites to guide participants through the process.  

The program operates in line with the highest ethical and governance standards and ensures the anonymity of all participants and the date of their blood donation.

Using the samples provided, the Emirati Genome Program will sequence the complete genome of as many citizens as possible to support better prediction, prevention, and treatment of genetic and chronic illnesses for current and future generations. The data will be used to develop healthcare strategies to address the population’s specific needs now and in the future, and support the advancement of preventive medicine in the UAE.

The significance of this historic research project means that every participant is helping to protect their own health, as well as that of their loved ones and their community.

Commenting on the occasion, Dr. Asmaa Al Mannaei, Executive Director of Research and Innovation Center at the Department of Health, Abu Dhabi said, “The UAE is an ambitious country, and over the past five decades, we have witnessed astonishing progress in building a nation that is among the safest, most prosperous, and technologically advanced in the world.”

Dr. Al Mannai added, “It is with this passion and determination and ground-breaking initiatives such as the Emirati Genome Program, that we embark on one of the largest genomic initiatives ever undertaken, the results of which will advance medical research to the benefit of our citizens of all ages.”

Dr. Walid Zaher, Chief Research Officer at G42 Healthcare, said: “The Emirati Genome Program uses the most advanced sequencing technologies to propose preventive healthcare services and solutions against genetic illnesses. The goal of the Emirati Genome Program is ultimately to provide a more effective and more personalized healthcare system that is tailored to individual Emirati citizens, significantly improving disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.”

G42 Healthcare will utilize its recently launched Omics Centre of Excellence, the largest and most technologically advanced omics facility in the region, to analyze data anonymously, generate a comprehensive genomic map, and potentially find breakthrough insights to drive large-scale scientific discovery.

For more information and details on the Emirati Genome Program, including information on how to participate, visit www.emiratigenomeprogram.ae or dial 800 UAE GENOME.

About the Emirati Genome Program:

The Emirati Genome Program (EGP) is the world’s first dedicated program to ever study the Arab genome. This initiative is a strategic public-private partnership between Department of Health, Abu Dhabi, and G42 Healthcare to refine the de novo Emirati reference genome with the intention of transforming the UAE healthcare to preventive systems and future proof the health of the nation. G42 Healthcare, the leading Abu Dhabi based HealthTech company that was responsible for setting up one of the world’s largest testing and diagnostics laboratory to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, and for conducting the world’s first pan-Arab clinical trials for Covid-19 inactivated vaccine, has established a state-of-the-art research and innovation hub at OMICS Center of Excellence in Masdar City. The Emirati Genome Program (EGP) has already referenced the Emirati genome based on DNA samples from 1,000 UAE nationals using cutting edge next and third generation sequencing with artificial intelligence, and now extending the study to the wider Emirati population making EGP the most ambitious genomic program worldwide. For more information, visit www.emiratigenomeprogram.ae

About G42 Healthcare:

G42 Healthcare, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi-based Group 42 – a leading technology company, is committed to developing a world-class, sustainable healthcare sector in the UAE. At the forefront in the battle against Covid-19, G42 Healthcare has partnered with health authorities in Abu Dhabi and specialised medical facilities to establish a massive throughput testing laboratory in 14 days and contribute to the trial effort of the UAE.

G42 Healthcare uses its advanced AI techniques and vast computing resources to accelerate the detection of Covid-19, conduct research into new vaccines and drug therapies, and map trends in the outbreak, including virus mutations. The company has also developed its PPE manufacturing capacity.