Shot notes on the role of biotechnology in health and medicine


Biotechnology has wide range of applications in medicine and human health. While dealing with diseases, biotechnology applications include prevention, diagnosis and cure of diseases. Biotechnology was first used in medicine for growing cultures of molds to produce antibiotics. Today, a number of antibiotics such as penicillin, streptomycin, amoxicillin are produced with the help of biotechnology hormones like insulin are also being produced by micro-organisms that have been genetically modified.

Biotechnology also helps in the development of therapeutic proteins like interferons. Biotechnology has enabled in the development of bio diagnostic kits like DNA probes, and antibodies for diagnosing of various diseases like hepatitis, malaria, kala-zar, typhoid, sexually transmitted diseases and antenated diagnosis. In the areas of human genetics, biotechnology has been useful in genetic counseling, antenated diagnosis and gene therapy.

Biotechnology has enabled in the production of safe, effective, cheap vaccines at commercial quantity to immunize population against epidemics. Also Biotechnology has resulted in the production of vaccines against Japanese encephalitis, hepatitis B, and Plasmodium virus causing malaria, rabies virus, and foot and mouth disease virus. Biotechnology can also be used for fertility control and efforts are being made for developing safe, effective, long lasting and reversible contraceptives.


The central Drug Research Institute, Lucknow has developed an oral non-hormonal contraceptive called Lentchroman which is commercially sold as Saheli and it is also the non-hormonal contraceptive pill of the world. DNA finger technology to forensic medicine for facilitating the identification of criminals like murderers and rapists through the study of DNA, or antibodies from blood, semen, urine etc. Attempts are also going on to use biotechnology to cure some forms of cancers and viral infection.

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