There is keen interest from some Barbadians living overseas to return to their homeland and assist the country with genomic testing and genetics to detect the presence of new COVID-19 variants and also research into cancer and other diseases.
Sen. Jerome Walcott, minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade and chair of the Cabinet Sub-Committee on COVID-19, made this disclosure during a live press conference Saturday evening, Barbados Today reported.
The minister told viewers that discussions had already started and a Barbadian working in genetics in Canada and other Barbadians have expressed a desire to return and work in the area.
“Next week is the Estimates Debate and I believe if you listen, you will hear that there’s been provision made,” Walcott said. “The prime minister is adamant that we will expand this facility, at the Best-dos Santos [Public Health Laboratory] to allow us to do genomic testing.
“At this stage obviously for COVID and the variants, if any, but in due course to get into the whole era of genetics as it relates to cancers as it relates to other diseases,” he said. “It is the plan of the government to get us into genomic testing and genetic research.”