For months we have been working behind the scenes preparing for an exciting announcement on a number of research programmes for our client Genomics England – and the resulting coverage exceeded even our expectations, with the story spreading far and wide across the globe.
In case you’re unfamiliar with Genomics England, it’s a Government-owned company that focuses on delivering and improving genomic testing to help doctors and clinicians diagnose, treat and prevent illnesses, like rare diseases and cancer.
Over the past decade, its role has expanded beyond its ground-breaking 100,000 Genomes Project and now works in partnership with the NHS to develop personalised and predictive healthcare solutions for everyone.
The key announcement centred on the world’s largest newborn genomics screening programme. The research study will sequence the genomes of up to 100,000 babies to assess the effectiveness of using whole genome sequencing (WGS) to diagnose hundreds of genetic diseases that affect thousands of newborn babies each year – and as a result quicken diagnosis and access to treatment.
Along with briefing a wide range of health and science journalists about the advantage of WGS compared to the heel prick test that’s currently used, we also incorporated a case study into our campaign.
While the Newborn Genomes Programme was the star of the show, two other important initiatives were also announced covering fresh funding for cancer research and a separate programme to engage with and recruit up to 25,000 research participants of non-European ancestry who are currently under-represented in genomic research.
Our hard work and months of preparation paid off. As we write there are more than 750 pieces of coverage with a potential readership of 2.8bn people across the world!
Highlights include online, radio and TV stories that ran on the BBC (including an extensive package shown on ‘News At One’ and ‘Breakfast’) and live interviews on the Radio 4 ‘Today’ show, Radio 5 Live, Sky News and Times Radio – and to cap things off, Channel 4 News also ran a heart-warming story on their evening bulletin. The news about the newborns screening programme was also broadcast on the BBC World Service Radio.
Organising an exclusive story for PA Media with our lovely case study ensured additional coverage in national media outlets as well as hundreds of articles in regional and local papers. PA Media also ran a second story focussing on the funding announcement which not only appeared across the UK but also on news websites across the world – and securing the involvement of the international news agency AFP meant the story reached a vast global audience from Taipei to Turkey.
Watch this space for further genomic news deliveries…