Biodiversity and the Pharmaceutical Industry


Observing nature around us and scouring it in search for remedies and healing is by no means a new trend; humans have done so for tens of millennia. Although pharmacology has evolved a great deal, far beyond natural and random means of healing, nature will always remain the main source of primary and essential components of the pharmaceutical industry.

There are incalculable species of creatures that share the planet with us, producing a tremendous amount of compounds that are considered the raw material for an infinite number of potential opportunities for the manufacture of medicines and remedies. Even though we are convinced that preserving biodiversity is an important factor in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, with every concrete construction built on abrased land, ruining the natural habitat of living organisms, humans are losing a potential opportunity of a medication that we possibly cannot create in a lab.

The preservation of biodiversity is in the best interest of humankind; there is no better proof on that than the discovery and manufacture of medicine. Finding cures in wild strains has and will always remain a significant factor in most, if not all, health-related issues, including disease prevention and maintaining good health. You may also like to read Stem Cells: The Future of Medicine.

Examples of Natural Medicines

Numerous compounds have been driven from natural remedies, including: Digitalis, a drug prepared from the dried leaves of foxglove and stimulates the heart muscle; Ergotamine, which is used to treat migraines and is extracted from rye; Quinine, which is a natural cinchona alkaloid extracted from cinchona trees and is used in the treatment of the gallbladder; in addition to numerous antibiotics, anti-fungals, cancer treatment, all of which have been extracted from bacterial, fungal, animal, and plant sources.

We also use reagents and chemical compounds, whether natural or synthetic, which are about to run out. The waste of the resources of environmental sciences, classification, and the study of the medical importance of living organisms, is a grave loss for humanity. That is why all programs aiming to discover medicines in future researches, whether natural or synthetic, must be based on the concept of sustainability; that is, biodiversity is a necessity for the future of medicine discovery. You may also like to read The Colors of Medication.

Why We Should Care for Biodiversity

Unfortunately, the extreme loss of biodiversity is becoming grave, as the rates of extinction are alarmingly increasing. Although new species are continuously being discovered, extinction rates far exceed the rates of discovery by almost a thousand fold. This accelerating loss is changing the biodiversity and the ecosystem, and it is limiting the ability to provide health services to humans, especially in medication; indeed, humanity is losing a potent medicine every other year due to the extinction of microbes, plants, fungi, and animals. This continual loss is threatening biological research and, thus, the survival of humankind. You may also like to read Biodiversity at Stake: A Historical Account.

The preservation of biodiversity in its natural environment and original habitats, accompanied by its introduction to people as is, rather than restricting it to museums and zoos, is essential and important; it raises awareness of the concept of life. We need to respect our partners and neighbors on Earth, with the purpose of developing many means to improve human health and raise life expectancy.


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