Advancements in biotechnology have been driving medical progress. The field has helped to relive human suffering from various diseases. There are different domains of biotechnology with application in industry, environment, healthcare, nutrition and biodiversity.
Biotech is revitalizing the status quo of healthcare by providing better and effective alternatives in the form of biopharmaceuticals. Number of industry experts have been researching and contributing, and information about their work is available online. For example, reading Dr. Lindsay Rosenwald Bio gives an idea about his work and contribution to the field. The ideas are that biotechnology works as an integrative application of biological sciences in various field of science.
Biotechnology can contribute to number of industries by providing alternatives like biomolecules, enzymes, recombinant proteins, DNA vaccines, monoclonal antibodies, biofertilizers and much more. This is important because when the healthcare community thought that they had reached an impasse when it came to treatment of cancer, hepatitis and other infectious diseases; biotech introduced decent alternatives. Now there’s an effective interferon and mono clonal antibody therapy against diseases like HCV.
In parallel to the advancement in biopharmaceuticals, there has been an expansion in molecular diagnostics. The most important thing about molecular diagnostics is that they allow better and rapid detection of diseases. With the advent of biomarkers and the side-by-side development of bio-therapies, biotechnology is catering to disease handling in a better manner. Furthermore, with the advancement in genomics and the completion of human genome project, the field is at a better understanding of the molecular dimension of the disease.
One of the major arguments associated with the expansion of biotechnology is the ethical conundrum and bio-safety. This is a serious consideration because when dealing with infectious diseases and particles like viruses, there is always the threat of environmental release. For instance, in the case of genetic engineering, viral vectors are being deployed, which has to be done under biosafety level-3 protocols . Mammalian and viral cell lines present a similar situation. The damage in the case of such an outbreak or a failure to follow protocols can cause serious problems.
However, the industry and regulatory authorities have done their best to minimize such risks. If biotech has to succeed on a mass level, the ethical and outbreak fears have to be catered to. In lieu, all major manufacturers strictly adhere to the biosafety guidelines as described by the IAEA in the case of infectious diseases. These protocols have been designed to protect both the workers and the general public.They have been made in the precedent where inappropriate vaccines have resulted in deaths.
Failure to implement these biosafety guidelines results in closure of business. All major research institutions and respective commercialization centers work under approval from bodies like a technical advisory committee and also a national level biosafety commission that oversees all such projects and grants approval. Therefore, this is working as a good deterrent against any ill-use or negligence in the case of biotechnology for providing better products in the industry like pharmaceuticals.