Nearly 57 per cent organisations in India are still at a nascent stage of genomics high-performance computing (HPC) infrastructure that is a key to drug/ vaccine discovery and precision for medicine.
A new whitepaper, commissioned by Lenovo & Intel, led by IDC, highlights the key challenges and drivers transforming the healthcare landscape across Asia Pacific.
Titled ‘Leveraging High-Performance Compute Infrastructure to Address the Genomic Data Challenge in Life Sciences’, the paper underlines the challenges where genomics research-led intervention could impact significantly.
The survey was conducted across 150 pharmaceutical and biotech companies across five key markets in Asia – India, Singapore, Thailand, Japan, and Korea, according to reports.
Potential of Genomics
Distinctive aspects discovered in the white paper point to the expansive potential of genomics. One is able to impact hunger and malnutrition, which has been ranked as the second greatest challenge across 40 per cent of decision-makers.
According to 30 per cent of surveyed leaders in India, genomics could also be a game-changer in helping to improve the environment as climate change continues to be a serious cause of concern.
“The volume and type of genomics data generated is unimaginable and to make accurate decisions based on this data requires huge computing power. This gets even more difficult with complex and unscalable solutions that were found to be cautious factors for 50 per cent of organisations in India looking for genomics solutions,” said Sinisa Nikolic, Director and Segment Leader, HPC & AI, AP, Lenovo ISG.
Increasing Genomic Workloads and Storage Capabilities
The trend towards developing a niche, high-value personalised health solutions is expected to boom as 83 per cent of organisations in India anticipate their annual genomics workloads to grow more than 10 per cent over the next two years.
Similarly, for 80 per cent, the annual spend on data storage and computation is likely to increase by more than 10 per cent in the two-year period.
The report further added that the growing storage requirement predictions could add to the existing cost burdens for 33 per cent of organisations who are currently spending more than $1M annually on data computing, storage, and maintenance & services.
Even with the challenges around scalability, flexibility, and costs, nearly half (46.7 per cent) of the respondents are not looking to acquire new solutions to transform their HPC landscape.
With a growing focus on making precision medicine a reality, nearly 47 per cent of decision-makers in India’s genomics industry feel that, with the high velocity at which genome data is generated, the lack of computing power to analyse it becomes the biggest infrastructural challenge for genome sequencing.
46 per cent are using 3D augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR) solutions, indicating a growing shift toward immersive visualisation techniques, complemented by deep learning to enable molecular modeling and simulations.
“A major challenge for researchers is the time taken to process a single genome. Fortunately, solutions like Lenovo Genomics Optimisation and Scalability Tool (GOAST) reduce the time to process a single human genome from 150 hours to less than 48 minutes. This enables researchers to quickly map a cohort of people instead of spending time analysing a single genome.
HPC supports high-throughput volumes to accelerate the speed of analysis, whereas AI helps make sense of the difference between genomes. This is why we are seeing GOAST being preferred by nearly 37 per cent of organisations in India and expecting it to grow tremendously over the next few years,” said Nikolic.
In the entire context of genomics data, cyberthreats are a key challenge for only 3 per cent of the organisations in India, while more than 80 per cent feel strongly about their cybersecurity strategy indicating it as the lowest amongst the hurdles.