Bringing biotechnologies from bench to bedside
A model framework for taking health-related biotechnologies "from the lab to the village" is outlined in this Nature article by Peter Singer and colleagues.
They say it offers a guide to identifying factors that could impede the development of new products — such as vaccines, nutritionally enhanced foods, chemical and genetic strategies to control vectors and diagnostics — in developing countries.
In Africa, they say, it could provide a blueprint for commercialising African health products.
Based on interviews with 70 "key experts", they put potential bottlenecks into four categories — scientific, social, financial and political. In terms of science, participants highlighted scientific capacity, infrastructure and collaboration as important.
Collaboration can improve capacity, say the authors, but care must be taken to avoid potential conflicts or exploitation. Interviewees also stressed the need for care in ensuring that scientific experts are not poached from Southern countries.
Interviewees called for Southern governments to follow Brazil, China, India, Rwanda, South Africa and Thailand in giving priority to science and technology.