WASHINGTON, D.C. (Jan. 21, 1999) Not too long ago, the idea of treating the root causes of diseases was just that, an idea. And so was the prospect of feeding hungry nations on dwindling farm land, or conserving natural energy resources in manufacturing, or protecting the environment from pollutants. All just ideas no more than 25 years ago.
They aren't ideas any longer. They are products of the U.S.biotechnology industry: new medicines that treat the underlying molecular causes of illnesses, not just symptoms; new crops that produce more food with less reliance on pesticides; new energy sources that replace fossil fuels; new ways to prevent pollution; and new methods for waste disposal.
President Clinton has recognized these remarkable achievements and the potential for greater improvements by proclaiming January 2000 National Biotechnology Month.
"As we stand at the dawn of a new century, we recognize the enormous potential that biotechnology holds for improving the quality of life here in the United States and around the world," President Clinton said. "These technologies, which draw on our understanding of the life sciences to develop products and solve problems, are progressing at an exponential rate and promise to make unprecedented contributions to public health and safety, a cleaner environment, and economic prosperity."
The president's proclamation follows a U.S. Senate resolution adopted in November 1999. The resolution, introduced by Sen. Rod Grams (R-Minn.), passed by unanimous consent.
Carl B. Feldbaum, president of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), said, "Biotechnology is at the center of almost every effort to improve our health care, agriculture, industrial manufacturing and environmental management.
"The Senate resolution and presidential proclamation arefitting tributes to the thousands of dedicated scientists and business professionals who are turning innovative, even revolutionary ideas into tangible products and processes benefiting all of us," Feldbaum added. "We encourage people to celebrate National Biotechnology Month by learning more about the remarkable progress being made by our industry. Log on to our website (www.bio.org), which is maintained as a public resource."
Copies of President Clinton's proclamation and the U.S. Senate resolution are also currently posted on the web.
BIO represents more than 860 biotech companies, academicinstitutions and state biotech centers in 46 states and 26 nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of health-care, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.