An overview of health-related industrial biotechnology in Latin America and the Caribbean
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There is some uncertainty about the extent to which Latin America and the Caribbean have participated in the advances of health-related industry biotechnology. This articule reviews tha available literature and seeks to provide an overview of the prevailing situation. In general, national governments and multinational agencies have provided most of the health-related biotechnology investments within this region. Efforts to achieve technology transfers, a subject of prime concern, have been developed by a number of programs including the WHO Special Program for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases, the UNDP/UNESCO/UNIDO Regional Biotechnology Program for Latin America and the Caribbean; PAHO's Program for the Regional Development of Biotechnology as Applied to Health; the PAHO/WHO Expanded program on Immunization (EPI); and PAHO's Regional System of Vaccines (SIREVA). Regarding current producction capacity, some succesful efforts have been made to produce a variety of therapeutic products including recombinant and natural interferons, interlukins, insulin, and recombinant streptokinase; but in general the region's current potencial in this area is at best incipient and uncertain. However, the region does not have a limited ability to make diagnostic products and a well-established capacity for vaccine development. Overall, this picture suggests that the region has the potencial to play a small but significant role in health-related biotehcnologyThis article will also be published in Spanish in the Bol. Oficina Sanit. Panam. Vol. 121(3), September 1996
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