Biotechnology, Pharmaceuticals & Genetics OVERVIEW
2) The manufacture of enzymes, including enzymes used in food processing (such as the making of certain dairy products) and in converting organic matter into ethanol for fuel.
3) Pharmaceuticals, where biotechnology creates such therapies as antibodies, interleukins and vaccines based on living organisms (as opposed to the chemical compounds that make up traditional drugs) that can target specific cellular conditions, often with dramatic results (such as the drug Keytruda that famously fought brain cancer for former U.S.
President Jimmy Carter). Biotechnology is a modern word that describes a very old science.
For example, bio-enzymes have always been essential in the production of cheese.
The modern difference is that much of the world's cheese production today utilizes a bio-engineered version of an enzyme called microbial chymosin.
This chymosin is made by cloning natural genes into useful bacteria.
Another example: For thousands of years, mankind has used naturally-occurring microbes to convert fruit juices into wine. The Coronavirus (COVID) pandemic is providing a massive boost to the biotech industry.
Around the world, biopharmaceutical firms are pouring an immense effort into research that might lead to a greater understanding of the virus, how to prevent it and how to cure it.
Much of this research effort has been fueled by emergency injections of government funding.
Continuing mutations of the virus, such as the Delta and Lambda
Personal genetic codes are becoming less expensive and more widely attainable. Today, the cost of decoding the most important sections of the human genome for an individual patient has dropped dramatically.
Significant ethical issues face the biotech industry as it moves forward. They include, for example, the ability to determine an individual’s likelihood to develop a disease in the future, based on his or her genetic makeup today; the potential to harvest replacement organs and tissues from animals or from cloned human genetic material; and the ability to genetically alter the basic foods that we eat. These are only a handful of the powers of biotechnology that must be dealt with by society. Watch for intense, impassioned discussion of such issues and a raft of governmental regulation as new technologies and therapies emerge.