Appropriateness . Will it be affordable, robust, and adjustable to health care
settings in developing countries, and will it be socially, culturally, and
Burden . Will it address the most pressing health needs?
Feasibility . Can it be developed realistically and deployed in a time frame
of 5 to 10 years?
Knowledge gap . Does the technology advance health by creating new
Indirect benefits . Does it address issues such as environmental improvement
and income generation that have indirect, positive effects on health?
Table B5.1 Ranking by Global Health Experts of the Top Ten Biotechnologies Needed to
Improve Health in Developing Countries
Modified molecular technologies for simple, affordable
diagnosis of infectious diseases
Recombinant technologies to develop vaccines against
Technologies for more efficient drug and vaccine delivery
Technologies for environmental improvement (sanitation,
clean water, bioremediation)
Sequencing pathogen genomes to understand their biology
and to identify new antimicrobials
Female-controlled protection against sexually transmitted
diseases, both with and without contraceptive effect
Bioinformatics to identify drug targets and to examine
Genetically modified crops with increased nutrients to
counter specific deficiencies
Recombinant technology to make therapeutic products (e.g.,
insulin, interferons) more affordable
Combinatorial chemistry for drug discovery
Source: Data from a survey rported by A. S. Daar, H. Thorsteinsdottir, D. K. Martin, A. C. Smith,
S. Nast, and P. A. Singer, “Top ten biotechnologies for improving health in developing countries,”
Nature Genetics , 32, 229-232, 2002.