UKZN’s College of Health Sciences is excited to announce the launch of the Discover Me South Africa study.
This innovative study aims to enrol up to 100,000 individuals from the local population of Durban, South Africa. To enable this study, we are collaborating with Omnigen Biodata, Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital (IALCH), the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health, Regeneron Genetics Center, AstraZeneca, Roche, including Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, GSK, Pfizer and Alnylam.
The Discover Me South Africa study aims to analyse the health and genetic information of thousands of patients of IALCH who enrol in the study. Combining electronic health records and genomic data at scale provides us with unique opportunities to better understand and predict the risk of disease and patient’s responses to treatments.
These findings have the potential to transform patient care by improving the accuracy of diagnoses, including earlier detection of disease, and enabling the development of more targeted personalized treatment.
Personalised medicine can improve patient outcomes and reduce the risk of adverse drug reactions, saving costs for health services and reducing wastage.
Notably, study participants will receive access to their health information via a secure online participant portal, to help empower individuals in their health care.
Over the next two years, the study aims to significantly expand the scale of genomic data and analysis, to provide a large-scale resource, aiming to support discovery science in South Africa. By connecting genetic information to other health information, Discover Me South Africa has the potential to transform our understanding of why certain diseases affect some people more than others, and why diseases progress differently in different people.
The research may also help us improve existing treatments and discover new therapies. Emeritus Professor at UKZN and co-Chief Investigator of Discover Me South Africa, Professor Ayesha Motala commented, ‘This innovative study aims to advance scientific development and discovery within the region, building on longstanding collaborations.
We are excited to be at the forefront of influencing the future of patient health and care on a local and international scale.’ According to Manjinder Sandhu, founder of Omnigen Biodata Ltd, and co-Chief Investigator of Discover Me South Africa, ‘This collaboration presents a unique opportunity for discovery science in Africa; continuing efforts to expand genomic data resources and support scientific communities across the region. Importantly, this initiative has the potential to enable innovation in drug development and health and care solutions, influencing the future of patient health and care for generations to come.’
Congratulations to Professor Motala and her team in the Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology on the launch of their study which will advance scientific development and discovery that seeks to benefit all populations. The study is sponsored by Omnigen Biodata which is a Research and Development company based in Cambridge, United Kingdom.