Experts Rank 10 Biotechnologies to Improve Global Health

TORONTO - Researchers at the University of Toronto's Joint Centre for Bioethics has determined 10 genomic and other biotechnologies that could significant impact global health within 10 years.

These include:

  • Molecular technologies for affordable, simple diagnosis of infectious disease
  • Recombinant technologies to develop vaccines against infectious diseases
  • Technologies for more efficient drug and vaccine delivery systems

Technologies for environmental improvement (sanitation, clean water, bioremediation)

  • Sequencing pathogens genomes to understand their biology and to identify new antimicrobials
  • Female-controlled protection against sexually transmitted disease, both with and without contraceptive effect
  • Bioinformatics to identify drug targets and to examine pathogen-host interaction
  • Genetically modified crops with increased nutrients to counter specific deficiencies
  • Recombinant technology to make therapeutic products (insulin, interferons) more affordable
  • Combinatorial chemistry for drug discovery.

"Current inequities in global health present major ethical challenges to the international community<' says centre director Peter Singer, MD. "Genomics is described as a powerful new wave of health related life sciences energized by the human genome project. This study ranks the most promising tools being created by harnessing this knowledge, offering unprecedented opportunities to address the growing health divide between rich and poor countries."

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