In April, the first month that applications for the new gene donor collection project of the Estonian Genome Center could be submitted, 36,344 people filled in and signed consent forms to become donors, and 10,654 people provided a gene sample.
According to Annely Allik, spokesperson for the Estonian Genome Center, the collecting of gene samples has kicked off swiftly. "During the first few days there were queues to provide blood samples, but now it is possible to provide a gene sample with minimum waiting time at all blood collection points," Allik said. She added that she wants to remind to all the people who have signed the consent form online that to become a gene donor, one has to actually provide a blood sample.
Estonian residents aged 18 and older who have not previously joined the Genome Center and who have a personal identification code can become a gene donor. Blood samples are collected at the North Estonia Medical Center, the University of Tartu Hospital, the West Tallinn Central Hospital, the East Tallinn Central Hospital, and the collection points of Synlab across Estonia. Taking a sample only takes a few minutes.
The Estonian government at the end of last year decided to boost the development of personalised medicine in Estonia and allocated €5 million to a joint development project of the Ministry of Social Affairs, the National Institute for Health Development, and the Estonian Genome Center of the University of Tartu to be set up this year. The project aims to collect the genetic data of 100,000 people and draw up personal gene cards for them.
Editor: Dario Cavegn