Infectious diseases are the second leading cause of death worldwide, and new infectious diseases continue to emerge. Infants and children are among the most susceptible.
Fortunately, biotech is improving the odds for millions of patients around the world with life-threatening conditions and helping to combat everyday threats confronting the developing world. Tremendous progress has been made in developing new vaccines and therapies that dramatically reduce rates of infection, treat and cure serious illnesses, and save millions of children's lives. Biotech also creates diagnostics that provide more precise and accurate tools for disease detection.
How do we save millions of lives and prevent unnecessary suffering, particularly for infants and children? Here's how:
Vaccines already prevent approximately 10.5 million cases of infectious illnesses each year. Worldwide, 2.5 million child deaths are prevented each year through immunization. Biotech researchers continue to develop innovative vaccines against infectious diseases.
Detect and Diagnose Disease
Biotech tests detect and diagnose conditions sooner and with greater accuracy and precision - helping improve patient prognoses. Many of these tests require only a simple blood sample or mouth swab - eliminating the need for costly invasive surgery. Many tools are now portable, allowing physicians to conduct tests, interpret results and determine treatment on-the-spot. Hundreds of diagnostic tests have been developed that can detect serious health conditions earlier on, so that they can be effectively treated. Many other diagnostic tests help keep the blood supply safe, for example from HIV. These tools have had a profound impact on health care access in developing countries, many of which lack a health care delivery infrastructure.
Biotech harnesses nature's own toolbox and uses information about our own genetic makeup to guide lines of research and healing. Biotech offers great promise in developing better treatments for Chagas, Dengue Fever, Leishmaniasis, and Malaria, among many other infectious diseases.
Today, there are more than 200 biologic medicines and vaccines that benefit millions of patients worldwide. In addition, there are more than 1,200 biotech diagnostic tests being used in clinics around the world. More than 600 new biologic medicines are in development, including treatments for cancer, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer's disease, and numerous rare conditions.
More information on biotechnology in healthcare