This article briefly considers the ways in which developing countries could benefit from the new drugs and vaccines that will result from mapping the human genome.

The impact of potential scientific advances will, the authors note, vary according to each country’s burden of disease, financial resources, educational attainment and health systems. But they suggest that even if only 10 per cent of the genome represents targets for new drugs, the possibility exists for creating at least 3,000 new molecular entities to combat disease.

Knowledge of the genome, the article goes on, should encourage medical researchers to seek out new interventions that are population-based and emphasis should be put on developing inexpensive drugs and vaccines that prevent disease and disability in populations. If not, the Human Genome Project has the potential to widen the gap in health care between the rich and poor on an unprecedented scale.


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