More EU Member States join the 'Genomics Declaration'
On 21 September Croatia signed to join the European declaration on genomic data sharing. The Member State follows in the footsteps of Austria and Greece, which signed the declaration quite recently. The project aims to create a comprehensive platform for cross-border genetic data sharing.
The Declaration on cross-border access to genomic databases (Genomics Declaration) was originally launched on 10 April during the second edition of the European Digital Day. Since its launch, the initiative has been joined by Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.
The Genomics Declaration is a cooperation agreement between the signatory countries, which pledged to collaborate to obtain secure and authorized access to national and regional banks for genetic data and other health data. Such cooperation is expected to improve the health and care services of European citizens and ensure Europe's leading position in health research. Improved disease prevention and more accurate personalised treatments for cancer, brain related diseases and rare diseases, are among the awaited results of this cooperation.
This initiative is in line with the European Commission's Digital Single Market mid-term review priorities, including the goal to support the establishment of a secure health data infrastructure at EU level, to advance research and personalised medicine. The Commission will support Member States in setting up a voluntary coordination mechanism of public authorities to link ongoing genomic medicine initiatives.
The quick adoption of the new initiative, with over half of Member States having signed the declaration fewer than six months after its presentation, is likely to continue. We would expect all Member States to join the initiative soon. Making 1 million genomes accessible by 2022, Member States are hoping that this will have a positive impact on European research and developme.