The UK is poised to boost expertise in genomics through a historic partnership with Thailand



Patients in the UK will benefit from a new partnership with Thailand to share expertise in genome sequencing, collaborate on research, education and training opportunities, share knowledge and process genomic data.

Yesterday afternoon (Thursday 19 January) the MoU was signed by British Health Minister Lord Nick Markham CBE and Thai Minister of Public Health and Deputy Prime Minister H.E. Anutin Charnvirakul. Both countries have committed to working together on genomics and understanding rare and undiagnosed diseases and cancer, as well as building stronger academic and institutional links through working groups that could begin in February 2023.

The collaboration will allow the two countries to better share information on genomics, and the study of people’s DNA, including the 50,000 Genomes initiative in Thailand and the groundbreaking 100,000 Genomes project in the UK led by Genomics England.

Gene sequencing can speed up cancer diagnosis, ensure patients with treatable diseases get treatment faster and improve our understanding of how health outcomes vary by race to address inequalities.

One of the key lessons from the COVID pandemic has been that collaboration with international partners is critical to building our resilience to health threats. Thailand has world-leading genomics capabilities, so this landmark new partnership will help expand the UK’s expertise in this area and cement our position as a global life sciences superpower.

Genomics has the potential to revolutionize healthcare in the UK and around the world, so it’s great to partner with Thailand on this exciting partnership. Both countries share the common goal of strengthening our healthcare systems using innovative technology and scientific understanding to reduce disparities and ultimately save lives.


We look forward to working closely with our counterparts in Thailand to enhance our ability to provide diagnostics for rare diseases and develop cutting-edge therapies.


Through our commitment to sharing knowledge, exploring training opportunities and leading joint research initiatives, we can collaborate to deliver better health outcomes at lower costs.”


Lord Nick Markham, British Minister of Health

UK Health Security Agency Chief Executive Dame Jenny Harries said:

“Improving the world’s ability to monitor and detect newly emerging pathogens is critical to global health security. The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly demonstrated how important genomic surveillance is in helping us detect and prepare for new threats to global public health.

“International cooperation is an essential part of developing this capability. I welcome this agreement with the Government of Thailand which will enhance our ability to closely monitor and respond to new health threats. I look forward to fruitful and fruitful collaboration.”

Thai Minister of Public Health and Deputy Prime Minister His Excellency Anutin Charnvirakul said:

“This is the first partnership between the Ministry of Public Health of Thailand and the Ministry of Health and Welfare of the United Kingdom. It marks an important step for genomics cooperation between the two countries.

“With a common interest, Thailand and the UK will come together to share knowledge and best practices in genomic medicine, including data processing, to ultimately help treat and protect people from diseases we may not have been able to do before.”

Professor Matt Brown, Chief Scientific Officer for Genomics England, said:

“The potential for genomics to revolutionize the way we provide healthcare is great and we are already beginning to see this transformative science adopted in many areas of medicine. We are delighted to partner with Thailand and share our knowledge and experience to put the promise of genomics into practice and deliver benefits to patients across the board. around the world “.

Building on the success of the groundbreaking 100,000 Genomes Project – which has already helped diagnose rare diseases in hundreds of children – the Government has recently allocated new funding to genomics to ensure a better quality of life for patients in the UK. In December 2022 £175m was awarded to fund New Genomics to ensure a better quality of life for our patients, putting the NHS first and underlining our position as a life sciences superpower.

This funding will build on the world-leading work of the NHS Genomic Medicine Service, harnessing innovation to drive improvements across the health system.

The funding also included £25 million UKRI-MRC funding for a new UK-wide initiative on functional genomics, an area of ​​genomic research that uses molecular tools such as gene editing to improve understanding of how genetic variation leads to disease and support smarter diagnoses. and discover new therapies.

The MoU builds on the Life Sciences Vision set in 2021, which is committed to delivering a world-class offering on functional genomics, and the UK is in a strong position to become a leader in this field.

Notes to editors:

The NHS Genomic Medicine Service aims to enable the NHS to harness the power of genomic technology and science to improve the health of our population and deliver on commitments in the NHS Long Term Plan including:

  • To be the first national health care system to offer whole genome sequencing as part of routine care, including for all children with cancer or critically ill children with a possible genetic disorder.
  • Increase access to molecular diagnostics and provide routine genetic testing for all people with cancer.
  • Improving early detection and treatment of high-risk cases, including expanding genomic testing for familial hypocholesterolemia.
  • Connect and correlate genomic data to help provide new therapies and diagnostic approaches and help patients make informed decisions about their care.

These commitments will be made by the NHS Genomic Medicine Service in England which will provide:

  • Consistent and equitable care for the country’s 55 million people.
  • Work in accordance with common national standards, specifications and protocols.
  • Introducing a single national genomic testing guide that covers the use of all techniques from targeted genomic testing to whole-genome sequencing.
  • Give all patients an opportunity to participate in research for their own individual benefit and to inform the future care of other patients.
  • Building a national genome knowledge base to provide real-world data to inform academic and industrial research and development.



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