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Case study: "I would highly recommend it. It will benefit everyone."

Research looking at the genetics behind conditions common in South Asian communities.

Volunteers have explained why they wanted to be part of a major genetics research study being carried out in Greater Manchester. 

South Asian people have some of the highest rates of heart disease, diabetes, and poor health in the UK. Genes and Health is a research study set up to help fight against these and other major diseases. 

By involving large numbers of local Bangladeshi and Pakistani people, the study hopes to find new ways of improving health for communities in the UK and worldwide.

The NIHR's Clinical Research Network Greater Manchester team visited Jame'ah Masjid E Noor mosque in Old Trafford on 17 June 2022 to give people the opportunity to get involved in the Genes and Health Study

People showed a great deal of interest, as more than 50 individuals consented to participate by giving a small saliva sample.

Participant Sajid Aziz, 38, of Old Trafford, said: “They did a little presentation to show what's involved or what's going to happen and there is a lot of privacy involved, with this day and age.  

“Just a saliva sample and [the research team] send that off, fill a couple of details in. And hopefully they can build up a lot of portfolios to try and help people in the future. Very, very simple process. I would highly recommend it. It will benefit everyone.”

Yasser Riaz, 41, of Moss Side, said: "I've taken part in a study studying the health conditions of people from South Asian origin. I've given a saliva sample and hopefully that should be useful to look at all the samples and compare them with other people from ethnic backgrounds.”

Professor Bill Newman, Principal Investigator for the Genes and Health Study at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We had the opportunity to speak with the congregation; to talk about what we're trying to do to understand the genetic factors that are important in why some individuals from the Asian community have a higher risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and have had a severe response to COVID. 

“People have been so interested to participate, to learn about the study. It's been a really great opportunity to come out into the community to speak to people and, rather than expecting people to come up to the hospital or go to their GP practices, they come to Friday Prayers, they learn a little bit about the study and then they have a chance to participate and ask questions about what it is we're doing and what the expectations and hopes for the study are.”