In November 2018, Associated Press shocked the global medical community with a news from China: A Chinese researcher claimed that he helped make the world’s first genetically edited babies. He edited the genes of twins with CRISPR/Cas9 technology, with the aim to make the babies resistant to possible future infection with HIV, the AIDS virus. The medical community was more or less unanimous in condemnation of the act because CRISPR technology is so new.
This was not the only news that resonated in global news in December: the startup Nebula Genomics announced it is offering free genome sequencing, in which the ownership and control of the data would be in individual’s hands. Furthermore, patients could make money with their data, as the company predicts that companies and research organizations would be willing to pay for the cost of sequencing if in exchange they also get some key medical information about the person involved.
The expert in this episode is Natalie Pankova. Natalie has a medical background but currently work as a COO of SHIVOM – a global genomics blockchain company, targeting developing countries first, to discover the genetic specifics of various ethnicities, which could improve drug development and help uncover, why certain ethnicities don’t respond to specific drugs.