Twc Lesson 6

Today’s discussion was on Biobusiness revolution-Healthcare  & Biomedical Sciences.

Before we started off, Prof recapped with us the definitions of the following:
Technology- which is the application of putting scientific knowledge into practical use
Innovation- Changing the way we do things

Biobuisness refers to commercial activity based on an understanding of life sciences and life science processes. This can be further categorized into:
Biomedical, agri-veterinary, environmental and other areas.

The magnitude of Biobusiness is very large. Bio Business contributes to 25% of the global GDP but employs 40% of the world’s labour force! Agriculture is generally the main contributor to the large GDP in most countries. It serves as a key driver of growth for people living in the rural areas since it requires very little skills and technology. In addition, what I learnt was also that there has been a change in patterns of diseases. It has moved from infectious to chronic diseases and this is all due to technology. The innovation of better healthcare and technology in developed countries has helped to reduce the infectious diseases, but in turn we are encountering the consequences of chronic diseases. However in places such as sub Saharan Africa where sanitation is rather poor and lack basic necessities, many people are dying from diarrhea, the lack of clean air and the rate of death in these areas are increasing rapidly. I feel that more funding should be channelled into these areas for better infrastructure to be built in order to reduce the death rates and increase the life expectancy.

Another takeaway was also the learning about tele-consultations, which in this case, we are able to have doctor consultations via the Internet. Instead of having to make a physical trip down to the doctor’s, we can now save time and increase convenience amongst our hectic fast paced lifestyles. Moreover, with the increasing population size around the world, for example, Singapore, we often encounter long waiting queues just for a short consultation. If tele-consultations are widely implemented, we would definitely reduce a lot of wasted waiting time and satisfy the needs of patients. This would be a huge revolution in the bio business sector.


Key drivers for innovation and change in healthcare and biomedical sciences also include:

-Demographic and epidemiological change: from rural to urban; aging populations; changing patterns of disease
-Translating the findings of R&D into clinical and commercial application
-Advances in information and bioengineering technology
-Changing consumer need, demand and expectations
I felt that the presentations this week were rather interesting and eye-opening. Xindi’s presentations stood out, where he talked about the use of Veti-gel that could help to stop bleeding and impact and the healing process. While veti-gel is definitely not sustainable permanently, it could be used temporary in times of desperation. What makes me wonder is that does this veti-gel pose future consequences in future? Would such substances be carcinogenic and will it be too late when we find out? Hence we should be more cautious and weary when we intend to use such products.
Perhaps an issue that could be further discussed is whether it is fair for some of the rich to be able to live a longer life at the expense of the poor?” After all, we are all human beings and should be treated equally. We should go back to the fundamentals of a basic healthcare- Are we being negligent of the people living in the less developed where they do not have enough access to healthcare and are we doing anything about it then?
Overall, I would rate this lesson a 7/10.

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