Late September/early October marks the beginning of the European Biotech Week, a tradition that has taken place every year since 2013. This event celebrates the growing field of biotechnology and its many applications in the sectors of healthcare, energy, food, sanitation, agriculture, engineering, processing, and education, which have undoubtedly made a positive impact on the world. It is supported by the National Associations Council, which represents 15 national biotech associations that encompass over 1,800 small and medium-sized biotech enterprises.
This year’s European Biotech Week was filled with fun activities such as lectures, seminars, and even a #runforbiotech movement! You can find more details on the link below:
Just thought I’d share this video- it’s from 2013 but is just as- if not more than- relevant today.
The mosquito-borne Zika virus is a huge concern in Latin America right now, and has been circulating the news for a while now. This outbreak hit countries in Latin America especially hard, as there were thousands of babies born with microcephaly (underdeveloped brain) this year as a result of the disease. Government agencies and biotech companies have been scrambling to develop a vaccine for this deadly disease.
Recently, Inovio Pharmaceuticals started a Phase I clinical trial of their vaccine. Inovio’s DNA-based vaccine was able to confer protection against the Zika virus on 100 percent of animals which were administered the vaccination. This preclinical study also found that the vaccine prevented the Zika-associated degeneration in the hippocampal and cerebral cortex regions of brain, compared to infected animals who were not given the vaccine.
As a native of Korea it’s always nice to see my country getting international recognition (which it regularly does, as it’s a quite STEM-oriented country overall). The Asia Pacific Biotech News- a biotech magazine based in Singapore- recently published a special feature on Korea’s biotechnology research and development program. The feature looked at 5 different research programs sponsored by the Korean government:
- Systems Metabolic Engineering Research (engineering biorefining technology)
- Next-Generation Biomass Research (biofuels from algae/water-based organisms)
- Convergence Research for Biomedicine (medicine based on convergence research)
- Bionano Healthcare Chip Research (integration of bio, nano, and medical technology)
- Biosynergy Research (synergizing traditional Eastern medicine with modern drugs)
You can read more about these research projects in the reference link below: