We are living in the new era of the COVID 19 outbreak. Countries throughout the world are taking unprecedented steps such as lockdown and contact tracing to respond and prevent to further spread of this deadly virus. The most fearful thing about this virus is unpredictability.
The asymptomatic transmission was unpredicted, and this is the primary cause of this world pandemic situation. We have failed to predict and prevent this virus that causes numerous loss of lives and damages to our society. The biggest takeaway from this outbreak is that prediction and prevention is the most crucial thing.
Genetic information is the key to prediction and prevention tool in health management
COVID 19 outbreak lessons can be applied in our health management. If we can predict our future disease risks, prevent it, and save substantial medical bills with a healthy life. But due to limited prediction of our risks, prevention plays minimal roles in our health management and still focusing on treating diseases rather than prevention.
However, the paradigm is shifting fueled by the advance of genetic technology and the accessibility of genetic data. Having a better understanding of genetic data means, forecasts of genetic prediction is getting more accurate. A new tool called “polygenic risk scoring” for analyzing hundreds of thousands of small genetic differences can predict a range of psychological attributes from birth. It will transform how we see ourselves, our capacities, and our problems.
What’s powerful about genetic predictions is that they are measurable at any time of life, unlike most risk factors. Most 18-year-olds kids have no high cholesterol, none of them have diabetes. It’s a zero in all the columns, and you can’t stratify them by who is most at risk. But genetic predictions are inherited risk and born in our DNA that can be measured from day one after birth.
Also, genetic information is a powerful tool to change the behavior of people. According to Swiss Re Institute, 2018 report, people who take a genetic test are motivated to live healthier. 77% who undergone genetic test say they started taking vitamins and supplements, improved their diet, hit the gym and they made lifestyle changes. This is another message that knowing genetic information is a powerful prevention tool.
Genetic information for the Smart City project
The smart city project goal is to create new-age living practices to help its residents lead a better and happier life. Health is the crucial factor of smart living and without improving the healthcare system, the 'Smart City dream' would remain incomplete. The current big challenge of the health care system is unsustainability due to lack of infrastructure, high cost of medical care, and so on. In relation to this, we are the witness of collapsing the health care system in the facing of the COVID 19 outbreak.
The best solution to this unsustainable health care system is prediction and prevention. It requires changing the patient-centric model to focusing on wellness and prevention model with prediction information. In this regard, utilizing genetic information will be the key value driver for a sustainable health care system and smart city goal that provides a better and happier life.
ARTICLE WRITTEN BY: BAEK SEONG MIN
Baek Seong Min is the Regional Manager of Genoplan
Genoplan is a part of our Batch 1 Smart Cities Program in Thailand.