Medical Biotechnology: Essay on Medical Biotechnology!
A major responsibility of biotechnologists in the 21st century will be to develop low-cost, affordable, efficient, and easily accessed health care systems.
Advances in molecular biology, immunology, reproductive medicine, genetics, and genetic engineering have revolutionised our understanding of health and diseases and may lead to an era of predictive medicine. Genetic engineering promises to treat a number of monogenetic disorders, and unravel the mystery of polygenetic disorders, with the help of research on genetically improved animals.
Globally, there are about 35-40 biotechnology-derived therapeutics and vaccines in use and more than 500 drugs and vaccines in different stages of clinical trials. Every year about 12 million people die of infectious diseases.
The main killers according to WHO are acute respiratory infection, diarrheal diseases, tuberculosis, malaria, hepatitis, and HIV-AIDS. There are vaccines being developed for many diseases, and diagnostic kits for HIV, pregnancy detection, and hepatitis are being developed. The technologies have been transferred to industry.
The Department of Biotechnology has developed guidelines for clinical trials for recombinant products, which have now been accepted by the Health Ministry and circulated widely to industry. Promising leads now exist to develop vaccines for rabies, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, cholera, JEV, and other diseases.
Recombinant hepatitis B vaccine and LEPROVAC are already on the market. There is a Jai Vigyan Technology mission on the development of vaccines and diagnostics. A National Brain Research Centre is being established to improve knowledge of the human brain and the brain diseases.
The discovery of new drugs and the development of the drug delivery system are increasingly important. Bio-prospecting for important molecules and genes for new drugs has begun as a multi-institutional effort. A recombinant vaccine for BCG and hepatitis is being developed.
The age-old system of Ayurveda practiced in India needs to be popularised and made an integral part of health care. The global market for herbal products may be around US$5 trillion by 2050.