Tailor-made biotechnologies (tmbt) in India : BioTechnology for Preventive Medicine
01 / 2009 - unknown
Biotechnology has proven to comprise an effective and efficient set of tools for providing products and services in the field of human and veterinary health (Acharya et al., 2004; De Cock Buning et al., 2008). So far, the relevance and impact of modern biotechnology for the resource poor, especially in the rural areas, is limited. The main research question and challenge of the program is to tailor biotechnology to the extent possible to contribute to solving some of the major health problems of the resource-poor Key to this will be to focus on the prevention of diseases through the directed research, development and use of safe and effective preventive medicines. For an effective implementation of preventive medicine for the resource poor it is of vital importance to understand the livelihood and different elements in the environment e.g., the housing conditions, nutrition patterns, harvesting and food processing, animal husbandry, agriculture but also pollution, poverty-elements and related shortcomings. This understanding provides the insights to ultimately realize conditions that lead to the prevention of health problems. The starting point of the underlying research network is the focus on biotechnological products for preventive medicine as a possible cost effective, safe and workable strategy for dealing with important health problems of the resource poor in Indian rural areas. In addition, indirect (web-based) communication of research results (in our case the communication of generalized tailoring strategies) to wider audiences outside the TMBT project should be very effective by following the strategy of translearning is followed. The objective of the BT-PM network is to use the understanding of local causes of the health problems in order to identify and develop biotechnology-based interventions. These interventions should effectively deal with the underlying causes, so to prevent health problems such as vector borne diseases and malnutrition. The effective use of biotechnology for preventive medicine in Indian rural areas is investigated by new research consortia, consisting of local, national and international research institutes in four strongly interrelated projects, aiming at: - The development and preventive use of plant derived biocides for the local control of vector-born diseases including malaria, filariasis, dengue, and Japanese Encephalitis (project 1); - The development of local strategies of preventive medicine, including the containing of brucellosis, for improving the health status of pregnant women and small children living in the rural areas of India (project 2); - The improvement of zinc deficiencies in pregnant women and children through the directed suppletion of cattle feed (project 3). - Lessons learned with respect to the tailoring activities in these three projects, in order to develop generalized tailoring strategies and to effectively communicate the results to wider audiences through translearning (project 4).