02/11/2020 - Genetics of COVID-19 in children and young adults in the UAE Research Project

This project has been funded by Mohammed Bin Rashid Medical Research Institute, an initiative of the Al Jalila Foundation. For more information, on this initiative please see here.  This project has three objectives:

1. Identify SARS-CoV-2 strains and/or viral co-infections associated with severe presentations, or with vaccine resistance.

2. Identify highly penetrant host genetic variants and molecular pathways predisposing healthy pediatric or young adult patients to, or protecting them from, severe COVID-19 disease.

3. Characterize the functional consequences of candidate SARS-CoV-2 and/or host predisposition genetic variants on the molecular and cellular etiology of the disease.

Currently, there is a lack of data, especially viral and host genomics data, on pediatric COVID-19 cases globally, and none from the Middle East. Answers to the above research questions will fill in this knowledge gap to inform management of COVID-19 patients, especially those with severe presentations. This data will also highlight novel therapeutic targets, and will determine to what extent vaccines and any treatments, currently under development elsewhere, can be effective in this patient population in the UAE. Pediatric patients with a severe presentation to a current infection or a history of a severe presentation due to COVID-19 are eligible for enrollment. 

01/01/2020 - Addition of the "custom gene panel" to the genomics center test menu

We are now offering healthcare providers the option create a personalized gene sequencing panel for their patient. Working with the healthcare provider, we can generate a gene list that is targeted for the patient's condition. Gene lists can be generated by the ordering provider, clinical notes and phenotypic terms provided to the laboratory. We will working with the ordering provider to ensure the gene list is robust and suited to the individual before continuing with the analysis.

This flexibility allows providers to ensure all conditions on the patient's differential diagnosis can be included in a single assay, allowing for a rapid diagnosis. 

This assay is ideal for a patient with a well established primary phenotype or has a clear differential diagnosis. If the primary complaint is not well known, or the differential diagnosis is vague, consider pursuing whole exome sequencing.