Precision medicine in Southeast Asia

Yao-Hua Law, who won First Prize in the International Journalism Competition in Personalised Medicine organised by SantePerso.

Personalised medicine, also called precision medicine, promises to speed up diagnoses and improve targeted therapies. While many Western developed nations lead the frontiers of personalised medicine, some countries in Southeast Asia have joined the pursuit to integrate genomics into their public healthcare systems. In 2019, Thailand launched a 5-year plan to build a genomics medicine ecosystem founded on a national bank of 50,000 sequenced whole genomes, and Singapore was halfway to their goal of 10,000 whole genomes sequenced. In Malaysia, geneticists will soon pitch a national precision medicine plan to their government. The physicians and geneticists believe in the benefits of personalised medicine, but they also see the many hurdles: lack of Asian genomic data, weak political will, funding strained by the Covid-19 pandemic, and a lack of legislation to protect genetic information against discrimination. Speaking to regional key players, Yao-Hua Law reports on the state of personalised medicine in Southeast Asia and how physicians and scientists are working to realise the goal of administering the right treatment for the right person at the right time.

Discover his winning news in a story for Nikkei Asian Review and his podcast broadcasted on BFM89.9, presented by Tee Shiao Eek (in english).