A catalyst of third wave of Scientific revolution- Biotechnology!

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BIOTECHNOLOGY- The third wave of scientific revolution

 Biotechnology is the third wave of scientific revolution, after physics and chemistry. For the past 30 years biotechnology is providing several products to heal feed and fuel the world!

You are a witness to biotechnological revolution, even if you are unaware!!

 Followed by Physics- the study of matter and energy,

And Chemistry that developed from Alchemy,

To heal, feed and fuel the world, emerged yet another technology,

The scientific manipulation of living organisms- Biotechnology!

This is the third wave of scientific revolution.

That paves its way through innovation!

According to traditional accounts, the scientific revolution began in Europe towards the end of the Renaissance era (17th century) and continued through the late 18th century, influencing the intellectual social movement known as the Enlightenment.  By tradition, the ‘Scientific Revolution’ refers to historical changes in thought & belief, to changes in social & institutional organization with the advancements in Mathematics, physics, astronomy, chemistry, etc.

It was an intellectual revolution, a revolution in Human knowledge!

 There was a transformation in the views of society and nature. It enlightened the people to look at the world in a different light where Superstitions and fears were replaced by reasoning and knowledge.

 Steam engine is one of the important breakthroughs in Physics.  It is considered to be a key component of the Industrial Revolution that started in 1850.  For most of the period of the Industrial Revolution, the majority of industrial power was supplied by steam. It was an Age of Enlightenment that provided an intellectual framework which welcomed the practical applications of a growing body of scientific knowledge—a factor that was evident in the systematic development of the stationary steam engine.

The scientific revolution has changed the world and it would never be the same again!

The next scientific revolution came from creative thoughts, in chemistry– August Kekule’s reverie of a Snake biting its own tail- a dream that supposedly revealed the true Structure of Benzene ring. It was in 1865 when Kekule suggested that the structure of benzene was a regular hexagon with hydrogen at each corner.

The new understanding of benzene, and hence of all aromatic compounds, proved to be so important for both pure and applied chemistry. Benzene, the parent aromatic compound is one of the first chemicals in history whose unique properties were studied by chemists.

For instance, Millions of Toothbrushes and brush cleaners that are sold out in the market wouldn’t have happened without this discovery!

Next in the series is considered to be the third wave of scientific revolution- Biotechnology that made its breakthrough by the production of INSULIN to treat Diabetes.

Diabetes mellitus is one of the most common chronic diseases across the world. Around 347 Million people are suffering from Diabetes, worldwide and it is still growing! This is a common and sometimes fatal disease in which the supply of insulin is insufficient for the body to break down sugar properly.

The first genetically engineered, synthetic “human” insulin, HUMULIN was produced in a laboratory in 1977 by Arthur Riggs, PhD and Keiichi Itakura, PhD at City of Hope and Herbert Boyer at Genentech using E. coli. Partnering with Genentech founded by Swanson, Boyer and Eli Lilly and Company went on in 1982 to sell the first commercially available biosynthetic human insulin under the brand name Humulin. The vast majority of insulin currently used worldwide is now biosynthetic recombinant “human” insulin or its analogues.

Insulin was the first protein to have its sequence determined!

‘Biotechnology’ encompasses a wide range of procedures that helps modify living organisms according to human purposes. It harnesses cellular and bio-molecular processes to develop products that helps improvise our lives.

It is remarkable that we have been using these processes for more than 6000 years to make useful food products such as bread, cheese and preservatives.

Modern biotechnology provides breakthroughs to combat debilitating and rare diseases, to feed the hungry, to have safer, cleaner and efficient manufacturing processes.

Currently, there are about 250 Biotech healthcare products and vaccines for diseases that remained untreatable in the earlier days. More than 13.3 million farmers use agricultural-biotechnology products to increase yields and preserve crops against harmful pests and insects. There are so many Bio-refineries around the world that help refine technologies to produce biofuels and chemicals that help reduce the greenhouse gas emissions.

 Heal the World

heal Biotechnology addresses a major challenge in healing the world by using Nature’s own toolbox and using our own genetic makeup:

  • Reducing rates of infectious diseases,
  • saving millions of lives from life-threatening diseases,
  • Help minimize health risks,
  • creating accurate Diagnostic tools,
  • Combating chronic illnesses and threats.

Fuel the World

fuel Biotechnology uses biological processes such as fermentation and bio-catalysts such as enzymes, yeast, and other microbes to become microscopic manufacturing plants. It helps fuel the world by:

  • Streamlining the steps in chemical manufacturing processes.
  • Improving the efficiency of manufacturing processes
  • Reducing & Monitoring the use of petrochemicals;
  • Bio-fuels that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Waste generation and biomass waste products.

Feed the World

feedBiotechnology improves and enhances the quality of crops by making it insect resistance, enhances crop herbicide tolerance and facilitates the use of better farming practices. It helps feed the world by:

  • Generating higher crop yields with fewer inputs;
  • Reducing the volumes of agricultural chemicals
  • Reducing the applications of pesticides
  • Yielding crops with enhanced nutrition profiles that prevent vitamin and nutrient deficiencies;
  • Producing Allergen- free foods
  • Improvising crop oil content to help improve cardiovascular health

In today’s world, Biotechnology is everywhere around us! It is already playing a major role in our lives by providing these breakthrough products and technologies in enriching our lives by healing, Fueling and Feeding us!

Do you know how many billions of people each revolution helped already ?

Comments from Dr. Srinivasa K Rao,

Managing Director,

Indian institute of Biotechnology pvt ltd

1.  Higher return of investment:

Vaccines are the most cost-effective preventive clinical services available in the healthcare industry that gives a higher return on the investment (ROI) in public health. For instance, according to a report based on studies in the United states, for each birth cohort vaccinated with the routine immunization schedule (this includes DTap, Td, Hib, Polio, MMR, Hep B, and varicella vaccines), society:

  • Saves 33,000 lives.

  • Prevents 14 million cases of disease.

  • Reduces direct healthcare costs by $9.9 billion.

  • Saves $33.4 billion in indirect costs.

  • Increased life expectancy to economic growth.

Therefore, a developing country like India should take up all the needed vaccines under the immunization program and implement the same. In view of the following benefits:

  1. Indian vaccine industry will be strengthened.

  2. Confidence about Indian vaccines will be higher

  3. Once the base vaccines are in place high value vaccines can be tried.

2. Grants and investments for the Availability of strains:

All strains against vaccines needed to be raised must be made available by the government research institutes in India for Indian companies. Certain strains could be imported from other countries while certain strains could be produced in the country rather than importing them. The Indian government should provide certain grants to import them as well as to raise these strains. Upon the Indian government investing on it, various biopharmaceutical industries should be manufacturing it as per the requirements. Also, Different strains takes up a different form during different seasons and the strains should be raised in accordance.

3. Need for well trained manpower:

Vaccine manufacturing needs well-trained manpower to produce safe, efficacious and cost effective vaccines. On the guidelines of WHO meeting held on this subject (December, 20111 at Cape Town, South Africa) Indian should have training programs for the best practices in vaccines manufacturing.  In developing and emerging countries, Assistance in creating a regional based independent, sustainable vaccine production is achieved by organizations like the WHO, HHS and various other similar organizations. For the betterment of their vaccine production capacity, these countries should aid appropriate methods of training and retaining skilled workforce. These training programs help overcome the challenges for workforce development in vaccine production, like:

  1. Less number of vaccine manufacturers existing in developing countries.

  2. Lack of experienced and skilled people in the industry.

  3. Inadequate and irregular flow of resources

By identifying sources of recruitment for FLS in vaccine manufacturing companies and by designing training modules for Front line supervisors in vaccine manufacturing companies, it can help improve the companies’ vaccine producing capacity.

4. A mirror site of Sabin Institute of vaccines should be encouraged in India.

It can give the most advanced knowledge about vaccines for the Indian academia and industry. The Sabin Institute aims at reducing needless human suffering from vaccine-preventable and neglected tropical diseases through prevention and treatment by advocating for the control of vaccine-preventable diseases. It also leads an internationally recognized Product Development Partnership (PDP) focused on creating safe, effective, low-cost vaccines for tropical infections in developing countries. A mirror site of the institute should be encouraged. For example making a vibrant and viable collaboration with their funded ($46 Million) program is an important step. [Dr. Hotez and his team of more than 25 scientists and staff are working to develop vaccines for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).]

The Sustainable Immunization Financing (SIF) program by the institute aims at assisting various governments to build internal capacity to increase their share of funding for the vaccine industries. It is active in 15 developing countries throughout Africa and Asia, SIF experts and staff work to ensure that key decision-makers have the information and resources they need to introduce and sustainably fund safe and effective immunization programs. Such a visionary program should be encouraged in India.

5. Fighting against the diseases of poverty by low-cost effective solutions:

There remains an urgency to address the plight of the world’s poorest people against the deadly neglected tropical diseases like:

  • Soil-Transmitted Helminths (intestinal worms)

  • Schistosomiasis (snail fever)

  • Onchocerciasis (river blindness)

  • Lymphatic Filariasis (elephantiasis)

  • Trachoma (blinding trachoma)

India should adopt the Sabin program of treating against all seven of the most common Neglected Tropical diseases (NTDs) at a low cost, approximately 50 cents per person. Such a low-cost, safe and effective solution should exist in India to end the suffering of NTDs, A “best buy” in public health. To end global suffering and death from neglected tropical diseases through proven-effective, low-cost treatments should happen in India. The Global Network fulfils this mission by raising the profile of neglected tropical Diseases and leveraging international resources to deliver treatments to the poor.

6. Education of policy makers on vaccines should be undertaken.

A vaccine to be introduced successfully in the market depends upon many factors which include the need for broad-based support from policy decision-makers, healthcare professionals, and the general public. It also requires an appropriate understanding of the risks associated with the vaccines as well as the benefits and drawbacks of vaccination to prevent infections. Creating awareness of vaccines in the healthcare providers in the industrialized world will help the funding and policies enhancing the exports as well.  Education of policy makers on vaccines has to be undertaken.  For Example, The Educated U.S. policymakers on the need for increased funding for NTD control. In 2011, Congress increased the budget from $77 million in fiscal year (FY) 2011 to $89 million in FY2012

7. Need for a Database of all the available vaccines:

A database of all the vaccines available, at the clinical trials, in the pipeline and at R&D stage must be made available for all the people to be accessible free of cost with the Indian manufacturing status vis a vis each vaccine. There are around 4,777 studies on various vaccine related topics, throughout the world. Out of which, 4,481 are completed studies with results known. According to the record, India has 72 completed studies happening currently, while the United States has 2,018 ongoing studies. (Graph attached- Appendix 1)

8. Need for a centralized body of registration.

Pharmexil or some supported private agency should provide a centralized registration for Indian vaccines in all the countries where ever it is needed to expedite exports. For every vaccine, there should be license sanctioned to be sold in other countries of the world. There are so many countries in the world that do not have authorised licences for their vaccine products. Different countries varying regionally and linguistically might have different formats and procedures. To solve such problems, a centralized body should take up the responsibility to provide registrations. Currently there are 76 US-FDA approved vaccines. Indian companies can export to several of the 159 countries. If the registration process is made easy exports surely will increase.

9. A tendency of saving lives rather than making profits:

Millions of lives being saved by way of exports of vaccines should be publicized for human face rather than just business. Around 12 Indian vaccine companies are qualified to supply vaccine to international agencies. Around 30 different types of vaccines are exported to 159 different countries throughout the world.

According to the facts published in the book “Scientists greater than Einstein”, around ten scientists have saved more than 1.6 billion lives. Likewise, an umpteen number of vaccines around the world serve at saving the lives of billions of people throughout the world. With such a cause being served, exports of these life saving substances should be publicized to be just that and not approached in a profit-seeking visionaries.

Every year, 3 million deaths are prevented and 750,000 children are saved from disability by vaccines

10. Handling the fear over Chinese vaccine plan:

A thorough study of the most rigorous nature is needed about the impact of Chinese vaccines to understand when, where and how to minimize the negative impact of the growing China vaccine fear.   Handling the fear over Chinese vaccine can be carried out by appointing a good panel of members of an advisory board to understand the policies of the Chinese vaccine industry. The Fear over China’s vaccine plan that underscored public distrust should be handled well.

Appendix -1

Map showing Number of ongoing Vaccine studies.


Indian Institute of Biotechnology Pvt. Ltd., is a bio-pharma institute that wants to be a catalyst of third wave of scientific revolution – Biotechnology, after physics and chemistry. In the years ahead biotechnology will provide several products to heal, feed and fuel the world. IIBT believes proper nurturing of young minds can help biotech industry bring novel products to the market.The main objective of the institute is to bring innovative products that are needed for vast majority of the world population in the areas of malnutrition and diabetes.