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Ministerial conference on science and technology of Central European Initiative held in Minsk

Ministerial conference on science and technology of Central European Initiative held in Minsk

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The world market of biotechnologies was worth more than 330 billion USD, with a predictable rate of growth up to 2020, which was 10-12%, in 2015. A considerable breakthrough in the becoming of technologies as a science-intensive branch of the economy is also outlined. This was announced at the opening of the ministerial conference on science and technology “Biotechnologies for Healthy and Active Life in the Region of the CEI” of the Central European Initiative by Alexander Shumilin, Chairman of the State Committee on Science and Technology.  According to him, various kinds of biotechnological products worth 3 billion USD were produced during the last 5 years.

The range of the produced products is various and is destined for various branches of the economy: agriculture, food industry, energy (diesel biofuel and biogas) and health care.

For example, Prospidelong drug (the development of BSU) is very efficient for the treatment of stomach cancer. At the same time, the Belarusian drug is considerably less toxic, than the best world analogues.

Tsisplatsel drug (Unitehprom BSU) is for the treatment of cerebral and neck cancer. It increases twice the longevity of patients. It surpassed the best world analogue, which was better than it, and the price is several times lower. Fludarabel drug (the development of IBOC) is recognized as “golden standard for the treatment of lymphocytic leukemia”. It has no analogues in the CIS countries, it surpasses the best world analogue in purity. Belarusian scientists also developed probiotic preparations and feed additives for farm animals and poultry, which reduce the treatment time of farm animals 2 times, increase the weight gain by 6-10%, and reduce feed costs by 15%.

The company NATIVITA  develops a number of original drugs for the treatment of breast cancer. Already the first tests showed their high efficiency, by a number of parameters surpassing the best world analogues.

The prospects for further development of the country's biotechnology industry are related to the implementation of the program "Innovative Biotechnologies 2020". In the long term, it will enable to produce innovative products worth more than 65 million USD. The program is aimed at further development of genomic technologies; obtaining of stem cells and new types of import-substituting drugs for the healthcare system; the creation of diagnostic drugs for medicine and agriculture; bioprocessing of agricultural and industrial wastes; creation of new generation of baconcentrates for the dairy industry; the development of functional food products based on probiotic microorganisms; development of bioenergy.

According to Alexander Shumilin, at the same time, the international cooperation in the field of biotechnology is still rather limited. ‘The main economic and scientific partner of Belarus is Russia. Our interests are tied in the multilateral area, first of all, concerning the Eurasian Economic Union. We see a great prospect in developing cooperation with China, and we have already made some progress in this area.  

Unfortunately, we are less known in Europe. We would like to integrate our scientists and knowledge-intensive companies into the European scientific space. For this we use both bilateral and multilateral cooperation,’ he said.

It should be noted that over the past few years, Belarus concluded intergovernmental agreements on scientific and technical cooperation with Italy, Hungary, Turkey and Slovakia. Now the work is under way on the agreement with Spain. The cooperation is actively developed with the closest neighbors, such as Ukraine, Lithuania and Latvia. ‘We see a pledge of activation of the  cooperation in a multilateral format, and above all, in Horizon 2020, the program of the European Union, in the development of international cooperation. Belarus already participates in 30 projects of Horizon 2020. It's not bad, taking into account the highest competition in the program. Although, I believe, the potential is not fully disclosed,’ the Chairman of the SCST said.

Today, for the next couple of decades, the following trends in the field of bio industry will be relevant for Belarus:

The development of the biotechnology industry based on the achievements of genetics and cellular technologies;

the creation of the most demanded technical, fodder

and food enzymes and the development of production of enzyme preparations;

the development of genetic engineering with an increase in the efficiency of photosynthesis by 1,5 - 2 times;

the obtaining genetically modified objects with high valuable characteristics;

the allocation and maintenance of biological material of animal productivity for the preservation of unique genotypes;

the creation of test systems and biochips to identify the presence of pathogens most dangerous for livestock and poultry.

The ministerial conference of the Central European Initiative on Science and Technology "Biotechnologies for Healthy and Active Life in the CEI Region", which takes place on October 26 in Minsk, is attended by representatives of 12 countries (Austria, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania , Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Ukraine and Belarus), as well as the CEI Secretariat and the European Commission.