The Malagasy Institute of Applied Research (IMRA)
Biopiracy the use of a people's long-established medical knowledge without acknowledgement or compensation has been a disturbing historical reality and exacerbates the global rich-poor divide.
Bioprospecting, however, describes the commercialization of indigenous medicines in a manner acceptable to the local people. Bioprospectors seeking to develop traditional medicines in a quality-controlled manner face several challenges, however: a lack of skilled labor and high-tech infrastructure, adapting developed world R&D protocols to developing world settings, keeping products affordable locally, and managing the threat of biopiracy.
The Malagasy Institute of Applied Research (IMRA) has employed bioprospecting to develop new health treatments for conditions such as diabetes and burns. It has found a balance between Western science and Malagasy cultural traditions and offers a useful example for African and other organizations interested in bioprospecting.
IMRA follows four guiding principles:
Using these principles, IMRA developed products like Madeglucyl, a treatment for diabetes management based on a traditional remedy.
Say the authors: "Stoked by identity politics and a broader debate about the
|Contact: Terry Collins|
McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health