Science, indigenous knowledge & innovation challenges


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Science, indigenous knowledge & innovation challenges

  1. 1. Science, Indigenous Knowledge & Innovation – Challenges for Development Kobus Eloff Phytomedicine Programme Faculty of Veterinary Science University of Pretoria CTA-ACP meeting, Johannesburg 2010
  2. 2. Overview • Will describe how knowledge, science and innovation have developed through time • Discuss an example of good interaction to deliver a wonderful product • Evaluate current situation, negative and positive aspects and identify challenges • Make proposals on addressing challenges to use our plant wealth to increase quality of life of our people
  3. 3. Introduction • Historically there was a strong connection between knowledge, science and innovation • Knowledge (magic) when discovered grains can grow to become a plant • Innovation when ash used as fertilizer • Magic became science when could predict • Sometimes did not work, religion used to explain • Current traditional knowledge contains many aspects of science, innovation and religion.
  4. 4. Early information on using plants • Neanderthal man cave in Iraq 60 000 ago • Pollen 8 plant species (incl Ephedra spp, ephedrine - banned slimming) • 8 spp still grow there. 7 used medicinally • Khoi-San rock paintings (up to 28 000 years old) 8 medicinal plant spp incl Aloe, Harpagaphyton • 2700 BC Shen Nong in China 366 spp used as medicine. Written pharmacopoeia. • 1500 BC brisk trade, plants had similar use Mesopotamia, Egypt and India • 300 BC Cyrenian coins embossed Silphian plant
  5. 5. Growth in using medicinal plants • Complex history use of natural products different philosophies developed to explain activity. • Galen “The doctor who does not know his plants should quit the profession” • Plants practically only medicine for millennia Hippocrates Galen Culpepper
  6. 6. Development allopathic medicine • Paracelsus 16th century used chemicals • Infectious diseases difficult to understand • Louis Pasteur, germ theory of disease • Paul Ehrlich certain dyes bound to certain microorganisms- magic bullet theory • Salvarsan effective syphilis; better than Hg salts until penicillin
  7. 7. Example interaction IK, science, industry and serendipity in developing penicillin . Ancient times Greece & India Many ancient cultures, including the ancient Greeks and ancient India, already used moulds and other plants to treat infection. 1928 England Fleming halo of inhibition of bacterial growth around a Penicillium notatum contaminant on a Staphylococcus plate culture. isolated "penicillin". Too unstable for mass production. Low yield 1 ppm 1938 England Florey organized his large and very skilled biochemical research team, notable among them Chain and Heatley, to undertake innovative work to produce a stable penicillin. 1941– 1943 USA Moyer, Coghill and Raper developed methods for industrialized penicillin production isolated higher-yielding strains Penicillium 1941– 1944 USA Kane and several Pfizer scientists developed the practical, deep- tank fermentation method with aeration for production of large quantities of pharmaceutical-grade penicillin 1952 Austria Margreiter and Brandl (Sandoz) developed the first acid-stable penicillin for oral administration, Penicillin V Nobel prize awarded to all three in 1945
  8. 8. Modern competition herbal medicine pharmaceuticals • 25% prescription medicine USA still from plants • for acute diseases pharmaceuticals usually good, side effects, resistance development • danger claims USA (aspirin ?) QC good • for maintaining health herbals probably better • strong growth in herbal medicines. GRAS • complications in registration and wider use • potential value if developed and work created
  9. 9. Time and place for usings herbals
  10. 10. Also a place for using chemicals .
  11. 11. Some claims difficult to substantiate .
  12. 12. How can plants be used to increase quality of life, create jobs • Worldwide an amazing growth in use of medicinal plants. Africa is missing out because the trade in African medicinal plants to developed world is low. Therefore no job and wealth creation for growing, beneficiation and exporting. • One of the major constraints for trade in African medicinal plants identified at the Medicinal Plants Forum for Commonwealth Africa held in Cape Town in 2000 was the lack of suitable technical specifications and quality control standards.
  13. 13. IS AFRICA MISSING OUT ON EXPORTING MEDICINAL PLANTS? How many medicinal plants have been commercialized in various parts of the world? What is the relationship between species/genetic diversity and product diversity? Publications van Wyk & Wink
  14. 14. North America 121 Central America 50 South America 64 Europe 336 Africa 83 Southern Africa 14 Asia 337 97 Eastern Asia Australia 11 Map: CONTINENTAL ORIGIN 1099 COMMERCIALISED MEDICINAL PLANTS
  15. 15. What percentage of 1099 species are commercialized from different areas? Reason for lower commercialisation probably not documented information, oral transfer. If same rate of use as for Europe Africa should have 1828 species commercialised not 82 Job creation South, useful spp for North Species numbers from Govaerts (2001) Taxon 50, 1085 plant spp #commerc % total sp %commerc Africa 74,000 83 21.1 7.6 Australia 26,000 14 7.4 1.3 South America 115,000 64 32.9 5.8 Asia 151,000 434 43.1 39.5 Europe 13,600 336 3.9 30.6
  16. 16. African Herbal Pharmacopoeia • Strong justification. Denzil Phillips proposed project to ACP-EU-Centre for the Development of Enterprise (CDE). Provided funding to develop trade standards in order to create jobs in Africa. • Invited 9 leaders in African medicinal plant research to tender for project. Eloff Phytomedicine Programme selected to manage collaborative project. • CTA provided funding for meetings in South Africa, Ghana, Namibia.
  17. 17. Production African Herbal Pharmacopoeia 2010 • Major collaborative project, consensus selection species • Collaborators from all over Africa • International leaders reviewed work • Project managed for AAMPS (African Association for Medicinal Plant Standards) Phytomedicine Programme. Living database approach. • Pro€invest provided funding to support AAMPS and for publication AfrHP • First step attained, more species and next level to be attained
  18. 18. What has to be done to benefit poor people: What do we have? • Rich resource useful compounds in plant species • Extremely rich resource of traditional knowledge • Many scientists working this area. Data for two Universities since 2005 but hardly any commercialization success. • NRF funding stopped in this component of IKS research 2009 • Understandable in product delivery, not human capacity development Group Publications of group MSc deliv PhD deliv MSc current PhD current University A 191 35 30 27 28 University B 98 21 32 5 4 Total 289 56 52 32 32
  19. 19. What do we have in addition to AfrHP? Some products delivered High technology level Pharmaceutical product Success stories in a publication based on symposium held with ICART funding Low technology level Pharmaceutical product Terminalia sericea leaf extract more effective than gentamicin against Staphylococcus aureus
  20. 20. What do we need? A new approach on rational use of natural products • Focus to date has been on using plants for human health • Many possibilities in agriculture. • Animal health, food production, food safety • Plant production, protection microorganisms, insects, nematodes, new crops • Diverse commercial uses, cosmetics, flavours, spices, beverages, foods and nutraceuticals
  21. 21. What do we need? A new approach on target of scientific investigation • Forget about magic bullet and fortunes to be made. • Convince funders more reasonable to focus on delivering products to benefit poor people e.g. via agriculture • Focus on extracts and low level technology • Phytomedicine Programme success in this approach. • Much better activity than commercial plant fungicides in vitro and in plant trial. • Plant extract as good as commercial product in treating poultry aspergillosis, several others. • Examples will be presented during excursion on 25 November to Onderstepoort, University of Pretoria .
  22. 22. Challenges for further development • Need a multidisciplinary approach also social sciences especially if focus on helping poor people. • Very wide collaboration required • Ivory tower approach academics • Funding for research, need problem solving driven • Funding for commercialization • Success herbal industry based on marketing rather than activity. In production efficacy counts • Difficulties Access Benefit Sharing, perception millions to be made, scientists are crooks
  23. 23. What do we need? Integration between different role players • Aims different role players not integrated sufficiently • If focus on only one area then there will be limited success. Role players Aim Country, continent Use plant diversity to raise quality of life of people Owners traditional knowledge Get some recognition, reward for knowledge Scientists Advance career, publications, deliver PhD and MSc Industry Make money, direct or indirect Government Raise QoL people, correct historical imbalances, efficient use taxpayer funds, develop human capacity International Funders Keep sponsors happy, Increase collaboration countries, politically correct
  24. 24. Interaction required between role players to promote application of innovation Low technology application, QoL Apply new knowledge Funding agencies Traditional knowledge Scientific investigation Industry production Independent results Focus rational us e and needs Creation of jobs, wealth The major gap is in getting scientists to focus on problems of rural communities and in getting useful information back to these communities. It requires a multidisciplinary approach requiring many disciplines also from social sciences. There is also a gap between the industry and scientists. Some of these issues addressed by Technology Innovation Agency, DST
  25. 25. To summarize • Africa has a tremendous wealth of traditional knowledge and of valuable compounds in plants • Excellent academic research, but little delivery of products • Focus should change from magic bullet to valuable extract • Funding promote integration between participants especially poor people and scientists; government departments involved • There are many products already identified with strong commercial potential support science-industry collaboration • There are many challenges in using traditional knowledge, science and innovation to get the Green Gold of Africa on the market to the benefit of all in Africa • To do that:
  26. 26. Working hard is not enough .
  27. 27. We also have to be clever .
  28. 28. Have to apply technology and innovation
  29. 29. Thank you To the audience for their attention, the organizers for the invitation, the funders, colleagues and especially our happy students from all over Africa