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Industry 4.0 in BRICS: Biomedicine co-op

International Cooperation

The BRICS countries, namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa are teaming up to make more biomedicine contributions to the world.

CGTNUpdated: July 27, 2018

Biotech, especially biomedicine has always been an important reason for humans to live longer and longer. And the BRICS countries, namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa are teaming up to make more biomedicine contributions to the world.

As the BRICS summit will conclude on Friday in South Africa's Johannesburg, let's check more information about the five nations and biomedicine.

Why should you care

No matter if you are living in one of the five countries or not, the BRICS cooperation on biology and medicines may impact you greatly.

The BRICS has some of the most active markets in the world. It's natural that the medicine producers will act according to the markets' need.

Take vaccines for an example. Vaccines are the things we took at a young age that prevent us from getting infected by some severe diseases. A paper from Bulletin of the World Health Organization (WHO) published in 2014 pointed out that BRICS countries are an important force in vaccine production.

But it also said that "the price of vaccines may have to rise" because the BRICS is composed of mostly developing countries that need more money to research on more and better vaccines.

It's obvious the price burden will most likely fall on our children, the vaccines' users.

That's why we need better cooperation between the BRICS nations to cope with this situation.

The paper came with the conclusion that the five BRICS countries "are far from being a coherent group" concerning vaccine production and usage. It also suggested that the government, researchers and companies in these countries need to cooperate more.

Another paper on the International Journal of Health Policy and Management (also published in 2014) said actions are needed to fulfill BRICS' promises to reform global health condition.

The progress

The WHO has published another paper in 2014 saying Brazil and South Africa are adopting new vaccines fast. But Russia, India and China, due to their large land size or population, are slower in comparison.

More than one cooperation mechanism has been established to tackle with the current problems.

The BRICS Working Group on Biotechnology and Biomedicine was created last year aimed to exchange experiences between the five countries and support international projects.

Roughly a month ago, the BRICS-Biomed League was founded in China's Southwest University, which is another sign that the BRICS is ready to take actions.

Experts from BRICS countries pose for a picture at the inaugurate meeting of the league. [Photo from the Southwest University]

The league is composed of not only government representatives, but also enterprises and universities. They will try to create international friendship hospitals and do research on curing diseases concerning human eyes, heart and reproductive systems.

With the focus of the BRICS summit on industry 4.0 this year, it can be expected that the research and production of biomedicine in the five nations to step up on a higher level.

In the Johannesburg Declaration released on Thursday, they are committed to "strengthening the coordination and cooperation on vaccine research and development within BRICS countries," and "welcome the proposal to establish a BRICS vaccine research and development center."

The Declaration also mentioned specifically the disease Tuberculosis (TB), an infectious lung disease that killed 1.8 million people in 2015.

"We welcome...the Moscow Declaration to End TB," said the Declaration which also stressed the importance of the upcoming UN General Assembly meeting on TB in September 2018.