Sat, Nov 20, 2004 - Page 2 News List

More disease research needed: scholar

CNA , Taipei

Taiwan is strong in the biochemistry, semiconductor and display industries, an advantage which will help the country become a front-runner in developing a competitive biomedical industry, a well-known researcher said yesterday.

Wong Chi-huey (翁啟惠), director of the Gene Research Center at the Institute of Botany under Academia Sinica, made the remarks while giving a speech at the 2004 International Symposium for Chinese Medicinal Chemists held at National Taiwan University.

Claiming that Taiwan stands a good chance of creating a competitive biomedical industry due to its abundant high-tech manpower and rich know-how as well as full government support and a sound environment, Wong said that the country should also use its advantages to develop new technologies and devices for disease examination.

But he suggested that Taiwan set its sights on making new medicines, although it is a time consuming task that warrants visionary moves over the long term.

For instance, he said, Taiwan is suitable to study the virus of the potentially deadly SARS virus and make effective drugs to tackle it amid public concern that SARS might stage a comeback as peak winter season approaches.

Despite the fact that researchers from China have been keen on producing new medications by mixing traditional Chinese medicines and Western drugs, he pointed out that they have not developed any new drugs that have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

He said that he is confident that Taiwan will be able to produce new medicines that can pass the FDA's strict requirements.

"Only by surpassing the FDA's thresholds can drugs made by Taiwan make inroads into the global market and that is the correct path for the domestic biomedical industry to walk," he said.

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