Andhra Pradesh, Shivom, Blockchain, Privacy of citizens DNA data, J A Chowdary, Chandrababu Naidu, Dr Axel Schumacher
Shivom is a genomics and precision medicine company that leverages blockchain technology to connect patients, researchers and clinical laboratories to one another. (Photo: Agency)

With as many as two billion genomes expected to be sequenced by 2025, led government of Andhra Pradesh has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with German firm to use the latter blockchain-based global DNA ecosystem to enable predictive medicine for state's citizens. Andhra Pradesh which is India's eighth largest state with a population of over 60 million has also selected blockchain technology primarily to maintain the privacy of citizens DNA data.

Shivom is a genomics and precision medicine company that leverages blockchain technology to connect patients, researchers and clinical laboratories to one another. Its blockchain based healthcare platform aims to be the largest unique genomic and healthcare research hub. Under this MoU, Shivom will collaborate with Andhra Pradesh government in the areas of genetic science and FinTech for financial inclusion projects.

“Our partnership with Shivom explores the possibilities of providing an efficient way of diagnostic services to patients of Andhra Pradesh by maintaining the privacy of the individual data through blockchain technologies,” said J A Chowdary, IT Advisor to Chief Minister, Government of Andhra Pradesh.

With this partnership, Shivom will establish a development center at Fintech Valley Vizag and also work closely with the state government’s International Institute of Digital Technologies (IIDT) at Tirupati on cybersecurity and analytics.

“Whilst diversity is all around us in the physical world, it is still lacking in the existing genomic data available to researchers around the world. This results in exclusion, as minority and under-represented groups miss out on the benefits from advances in predictive and personalised medicine because abnormal genomic variations that exist in their ethnic or geographical location will not be present in the data that researchers are working with,” says Dr. Axel Schumacher, Co-Founder, and CEO, Shivom.

“At Shivom, we are passionate about changing the healthcare status quo and driving a fundamental evolution that results in a system of universal access to the best and most effective predictive medicine. This agreement with the state of Andhra Pradesh is hugely significant for Shivom as it is the first step towards a new, accessible world of healthcare,” said Dr. Schumacher.

Company said that this partnership demonstrates a shift in focussing just on genomic data for research and instead using the predictive power of the genetic data to empower the Andhra Pradesh healthcare system to shift from reactive to more preventative.

As public outrage over the amount of personal information that platforms such as Facebook and Google are choosing to store, while not revealing exactly why, reached boiling point this week, little has been written about the mass storage of DNA data that continues to grow. Shivom said it is first DNA sequencing platform to put the ownership of an individual’s DNA in their hands.

"We view the future as consumers owning their own health data,” said Gourish Singla, Co-Founder and COO of Shivom. ”Most of us are oblivious of the implications of giving away personal information, and the recent Facebook and Cambridge Analytica issue has demonstrated just how important it is to be aware of who owns your data and what they are doing with it. This is why we are proud to be the first DNA sequencing platform to put the ownership of an individual’s DNA in their hands,” said Singla.

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