Genetic testing allowed in ‘sandbox’ approval

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Genetic testing allowed in ‘sandbox’ approval

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said Monday it approved limited regulatory exemptions for five businesses including genetic testing for diseases as part of its so-called regulatory sandbox to foster new industries.

The announcement came after the third round of review that considered 11 applications on Monday. Two other businesses also received temporary approvals for their services. The sandbox initiative was adopted in February.

In a regulatory sandbox, normal rules and laws are held in abeyance to allow for the development of new technology or innovative services.

The Ministry said its review committee approved genetic analysis company DNA Link’s application to conduct limited testing for diseases. DNA Link will be allowed to test for six types of cancer, 14 other diseases and 12 health indicators, such as the level of alcohol reliance.

Current regulations limit non-medical institutions from providing customers with genetic test information for only 12 diseases.

DNA Link will be able to test its service on 2,000 people in Gwangju for two years after an additional review by the Korea National Institute for Bioethics Policy.

Two other bio companies received similar exemptions for genetic testing.

The Ministry also approved a Korea Expressway Corporation’s (KEC) application to allow underprivileged groups to operate cafes at two highway stops at night, when they are usually closed.

Under current food safety laws, existing food service establishments can’t be operated by anyone but the owner.

The limited exemption will allow a disabled society to operate cafes from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. for two years at two rest stops.

Virtual reality (VR) content company Big Pictures also received a limited exemption to use its VR simulator for construction equipment training.

With the exemption, VR construction equipment education will be considered actual training hours for 40 trainees at two education centers.

As of April 29, 101 applications had been submitted for review.

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