Ministry of Health Launches First Latvian Population Genome Reference Cohort Project

LATVIA – Ministry of Health

The project aims to create a reference genome reference cohort of 500 000 inhabitants of Europe, which will be half of the European 1+MG initiative.

Ministry of Health and the Latvian Centre for Biomedical Research and Studies concluded an agreement on Latvia’s participation in the European Genome Project and the creation of a population genome directory for Latvia, to be funded by the European Recovery Fund. This is the first contract awarded by the Ministry of Health under the Recovery Fund.

Ministry of Health Launches First Latvian Population Genome Reference Cohort Project
Photo by Wladimir Bulgar / Pond5

The main objective of the project is to create a reference population genome reference in Latvia to be used for research, optimisation of disease prevention and treatment, as well as to ensure its inclusion in the unified European genome database.

The creation of the Latvian population genome reference is planned as part of the National Population Genome Database, which is maintained and mainly processed by the Latvian Centre for Biomedical Research and Studies. The total funding for the project is EUR 2,322,750, of which the European Recovery Fund is EUR 1,955,000 and co-funding from the state budget is EUR 367,750.

The Latvian population genome directory shall be created by 31 March 2024. Including the creation of a data processing and storage system by 31 December 2022 and complete genome sequencing of 3,500 samples by 31 December 2023.

Genome sequencing is the process by which a set of DNA – genetic information about a specific individual is obtained from an individual. 

The project plans to:
  • Donor involvement,
  • Collection of biological samples and logistics,
  • Processing of biological materials,
  • Full genomic sequencing (for 3,500 samples),
  • Establishment of ICT infrastructure for data processing and storage, including Establishment of a national ICT infrastructure and data processing system for secure access to genomic data on a European scale within the framework of the Digital Transformation programme of the Recovery Funds Plan.

Latvia has joined the European Commission’s declaration of 10 April 2018 «Declaration of 1+ million genomes», which provides for the creation of a gene database of at least one million people in Europe.

The aim is to ensure access to genetic and related health data in a safe and secure way for the purposes of health care (prevention, diagnosis and treatment), research and innovation.

Under the Recovery Fund Plan, EUR 181,500,000 has been allocated to the health sector to develop comprehensive and integrated patient-centred health services, improve the efficiency of services and strengthen outpatient care. The deadline for implementation of the recovery fund plan is until 2026.

The Latvian Population Reference Genome Project is implemented in accordance with the Public Health Guidelines 2021-2027.

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