Mapmygenome, a genomics company offering personalised health solutions based on genetic tests, has joined hands with Apollo Clinic to offer DNA-based tests that give risk and immunity reports. These tests include screening for health & wellness and ancestry testing during the Covid-19 pandemic, for understanding genetic predispositions of people to know why some people suffer more than others, understand how the virus mutates and come up with new drug targets. It helps to come up with new vaccines like the mRNA, DNA vaccines, etc and design reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests, a method for detecting the presence of specific genetic material in any pathogen, including a virus.
“Researchers across the globe have been studying the viral genome to understand its mechanism of action and to find possible ways to stop the spread. Genomics has proven to be a valuable tool in Covid diagnostics and testing,” says Anu Acharya, CEO, Mapmygenome. Apart from RT-PCR and pooled-sampling methods, even gene targeting and editing technology finds application in Covid diagnostics. Researchers are using this technology to learn about the interaction between viral and human cells to create cell models that can expedite the development of new treatments. Covid-19 treatment can be personalised with genetic screening, by testing for biomarkers which affect drug response for efficacy and toxicity. After identifying treatment plans, the next step, drug target screening, also has a genomics component. Genomic epidemiology is another application that gives us real-time data about the pandemic across the globe.
“Our own team has researched 4,000 Indian samples to estimate DNA-based Covid risk and severity in Indian patients. Research has shown that genes involved in cytokine production, regulation and immune response are linked with cytokine storm, or a severe immune reaction in Covid patients. Screening for these genetic markers could help identify risk for cytokine storm, infectiousness and thereby, severe Covid-19 outcomes,’’ she said. Genomic testing helps identify potential areas of concern and formulate a personalised prevention plan. This reduces the odds for severe outcomes, including Covid-19 and related infections.
Mapmygenome’s Genomepatri or ‘health horoscope’ is a master health test with 100-odd reports on lifestyle disease, physiological traits, drug response and carrier status. A flagship product from Mapmygenome, it is the most comprehensive genetic assessment available for preventive screening. Genomepatri Lite is a specialised product with a focus on cardiology and oncology. It comes with 50 reports on heart health, metabolic traits, cancer risk (15 different types of cancer), and drug response (15 commonly prescribed statins, beta blockers, blood thinners, and anti-diabetic agents). Genomepatri and Genomepatri Lite include genetic risk assessment of health risks, which affect Covid severity and immunity, as well.