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A “natural pharmacy” for human health… Protecting biodiversity is “life or death”

From antibiotics and pain relievers, to treatments for many incurable diseases, such as cancerous tumors and HIV/AIDS, nature provides countless benefits to ensure better health for humans, as ecosystems provide many products and services that help preserve on life on Earth, including human life.

And while the United Nations estimates indicate that about one million species of living organisms, whether animal or plant, face the threat of extinction, the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15), which was held in Montreal, Canada, earlier this month, issued a warning. “If we continue to harm the environment, we risk losing the health benefits that natural systems provide us,” he said.

In an attempt to stress the importance of protecting biodiversity, considering that it is a “matter of life or death” for humanity, the United Nations Development Program issued a report entitled “How Our Health Depends on Biodiversity”, in which it indicated the wide range of services that natural systems can provide, to ensure Better health for humans, considering that these services are “impossible” to replace them, despite the exorbitant financial cost they entail.

Living laboratory from nature

The report emphasized that the majority of medicines prescribed in industrialized countries are derived from natural compounds produced by animals and plants, and billions of people in developing countries depend mainly on traditional plant-based medicine in primary health care, in addition to many treatments that are It comes from nature known, foremost among which are painkillers, such as “morphine”, which comes from “opium poppy”, and “quinine”, which is anti-malarial, comes from the bark of the “eucalyptus” tree in South America, and the antibiotic “penicillin”, produced by types of microscopic fungi. .

The report, “How Our Health Depends on Biodiversity,” pointed out that the microbes discovered in the soil of “Rapa Nui” or “Easter Island” fight heart disease by lowering cholesterol, and that one of the first anti-HIV drugs is one of the first. The drug, known as ATZ, came from a large sponge in shallow waters in the Caribbean, which also produces antivirals for the treatment of herpes, and serves as the source for the first marine-derived anti-cancer drug to be licensed in the United States.

A huge reservoir for future treatments

The report added that so far, only 1.9 million species have been identified, while it is believed that there are millions more that are completely unknown, and it considered that everything alive is the result of a complex “living laboratory”, which has been conducting its own clinical tests since life began, i.e. about 3.7 A billion years, pointing out that this huge reservoir of natural medicines contains countless undiscovered cures, unless we destroy them before we know them.

For example, with the melting of ice in the Arctic, home to the polar bear, now classified as an endangered species as a result of climate change, the world’s largest land predator has become a symbol of the dangers posed by rising global temperatures, and may also be a symbol of health, as it gathers Polar bears accumulate huge amounts of fat before entering hibernation, and despite their obesity reaching a degree that threatens human life, they are apparently immune to type 2 diabetes, and although they have been immobile for several months, their bones are not affected., They also don’t urinate during this period, but neither of them are damaged, and if we study and reproduce how bears detoxify their bodies while hibernating, we may be able to treat, and perhaps even prevent, toxicity from kidney failure in humans.

It is known that 13% of the world’s population currently suffers from clinical obesity, and it is expected that the number of people with type 2 diabetes will increase to 700 million people by 2045, and one in three women over the age of fifty, and one in five men, will suffer. Osteoporosis-related fractures, and in the United States alone, kidney failure kills more than 82,000 people, and costs the US economy more than $35 million annually.



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