What You Should Know:
- London-based precision medicine software provider Lifebit has agreed partnerships with two innovative population genomic initiatives in Mexico and Brazil to help diversify genomic research and reduce health inequality in Latin America.
- The use of Lifebit’s federated technology will allow researchers around the world to connect with and securely access the valuable and sensitive genomic data held by gen-t (headquartered in Sao Paolo) and Omica.bio (based in Mexico City) in a secure and compliant manner.
Accelerating Scientific Discoveries and Creating Greater Regional Health Equity
Currently, 78% of all genomic data available for research comes from people with white European ancestry, while less than one percent is from people of Latin American / Hispanic origin – an imbalance that significantly limits the impact of scientific insights for those living in the region.
As an overarching problem, 97% of health data around the world is inaccessible or unusable because:
• of the increase in legal and regulatory restrictions on data access to help keep sensitive information private;
• datasets are increasing in size and can be hard to manage, making it difficult for researchers to physically access the right data for their analyses;
• datasets often become siloed as they reside in disparate organisations and locations across the globe with bespoke governance laws restricting access and / or movement of the data.
To help tackle this inequality, gen-t and Omica.bio chose to partner with Lifebit – a leader in secure technology for biomedical research – to ensure the data they are collecting can be accessed, ethically and securely, for life sciences research. The aim is to benefit local populations in Latin America and, through Lifebit’s expertise, population health research across the world.
gen-t was founded by leading experts in genomics research and aims to include the Brazilian population in precision medicine by recruiting 200k participants to safely collect data on their health, DNA and lifestyle. Focusing primarily on people from lower socio-economic backgrounds, gen-t’s programme includes free health checks and a follow-up health appointment every year for 5 years.
Prof Lygia V. Pereira, CEO and Co-Founder, gen-t Science, said: “Our partnership with Lifebit will provide us with the international connections to safely link Brazilian data to other datasets around the world and boost the availability of more diverse genomic resources for research. This is vital in sustaining this initiative and ensuring people in Brazil can benefit from the latest drugs and scientific discoveries.”
In Mexico, Omica.bio is leading a revolution in ethical biotechnology. Through its network of community-driven biobanks, they partner with underserved communities and unique patient cohorts to provide global researchers with diverse health-related datasets. Grounded in the principles of fair and equitable research, Omica.bio is on a mission to bring Latin American communities to the forefront of biomedical innovation.