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Bulgaria signs the declaration on linking genomic databases across borders

Bulgaria has signed the declaration 'Towards access to at least 1 million sequenced genomes in the EU by 2022', becoming the 14th country to participate in the joint national and European effort to deliver cross-border access to genomic information.

Vice-President Ansip, responsible for the Digital Single Market, and Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society welcomed this new step forward:

"We welcome Bulgaria's commitment to this revolutionary European initiative, which will affect the lives of millions of people and pave the way to a better personalised medicine and disease prevention across the European Union."

The Declaration on linking genomic databases across borders is an agreement of cooperation between the signatory countries, which are committed to collaborate on the secure and authorised access to national and regional banks of genetic and other health data. This will contribute to better health and care delivery to European citizens and ensure Europe's leading place in health research. Sharing more genomic data will contribute to better prevention of diseases and more accurate personalised treatments, in particular for cancer and brain related diseases, as well as for rare diseases.

The Declaration on linking genomic databases across borders was originally launched on 10 April 2018 during the Digital Day 2 and signed by the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK. Bulgaria, Croatia and Greece have committed to sign the declaration.
The signatory Member States of the Declaration believe that they should cooperate closely in order to overcome data silos, lack of interoperability and fragmentation of smaller national initiatives. This will contribute to a larger cohort of genomic data, which will allow for more clinically impactful research. Investments in sequencing, bio banking and data infrastructure will be maximized. Furthermore, the right to data privacy will be secured, while giving citizens an active role in their personalised treatment and putting their needs at the centre of healthcare innovation.
The Commission will support Member States in setting up a voluntary coordination mechanism of public authorities to link ongoing genomic medicine initiatives. The coordination mechanism will:
• Define a governance model of the cooperation, particularly concerning the terms and conditions for distributed access to genomic data across-borders, usage of the data and others;
• Support the development of technical specifications for secure access and cross-border exchange of genomic datasets within the internal market, and;
• Facilitate interoperability of relevant registries and databases to support personalised medicine research.

Some research projects on eHealth supported by EU:

• MuG - encoding genomics data
• PredictND - support for patients with Dementia
• Sound of Vision - help for visually impared

More Information:
• Transformation of Health and Care in the Digital Single Market
• European Commission's Digital Single Market mid-term review
• Council conclusions on "Health in the digital society – making progress in data-driven innovation in the field of health", adopted on 8 December 2017
• Council Conclusions on "Encouraging Member States driven Voluntary Cooperation between Health Systems”, adopted on 16 June 2017
• General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)