"Developing countries cannot rely on the altruism of western economic interests to address specific health needs of their populations," he adds. "And purchasing health products from the West will only contribute to continued dependency of developing countries on weathier northern neighbours."
Knowledge of the genomic variation of individuals and sub-populations will usher in an era of personalized medicine, characterized by more accurate abilities to predict illness, prevent disease, promote health and allocate resources better at national levels.
It will also provide a better handle on disease susceptibility and on the likelihood of benefitting from drugs while avoiding harmful reactions to them.
For individuals, genomic medicine holds the promise of personalized therapies. Even today we have genetic tests for patients taking anti-HIV medication that can predict if they will have serious or even lethal reactions to those medications. Genomics knowledge, including knowledge of genomic sequences of pathogens and their vectors, will facilitate development of better drugs, vaccines and diagnostics
The case studies revealed six major cross-cutting themes underlying initiatives in all four countries studied: political will, institutional leadership, the goal of producing local health benefits, protecting genomic sovereignty, and promoting economic benefits.
The authors describe what motivated the four countries to undertake these genomics initiatives, the mechanisms being used to develop genomic medicine appropriate to their circumstances, the potential for commercializing research results, and how challenges are being addressed, including ethical, legal, social and cultural issues that have either arisen or may arise.
The authors say the insights chronicled will be of particular interest to developing world policy-makers (especially in science and technology, industry and commerc
|Contact: Terry Collins|
Program on Life Sciences, Ethics and Policy,McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health