How should we innovate, if we should?
“SHOULD we innovate?” “How should we innovate if we should innovate?” These questions should be asked and their answers should be explicit and generally accepted before the new and strange practices that are called “innovation in technology” are accepted and used in Nigeria. But there is no evidence that they were asked, argued about, and the answers which are right or good evolved and generally accepted before we accepted the technological practices and began to apply them to agriculture and medicine. No standard methods of biotechnology for developing GMOs and safety of GM foods were achieved before Biosafety Bill was signed. The health policy has the same flaw.
Innovation in technology” applies to genetic engineering, biotechnology, molecular biology and nano technology. Very few Nigerians know this fact, how they are used, and the effects of ingesting or using the things that are produced with them. It is very worrisome that in spite of our level of education, we do not ask fundamental questions about anything that is introduced to us before we begin to apply it. This applies not only to innovation in technology, which this piece is about. It applies also to what are called “climate change”, “gender”, “modern”, “global”, and “development”, and to finance and economics. More worrisome: While applying what we are given causes disabilities, deformities, diseases, deaths, infertility, and divorce, corrupts our values, and makes our children wayward and criminals, educated Nigerians hold tight to their application and defend it.
Innovation is, certainly, not always right or good. This means that it is not always right or good to innovate. Therefore, every innovation must be studied and certified right and good in terms of the method of its application and the safety of what is produced with it before it is applied. By “good” I mean that the product of its application is safe when it is taken into the body by any means, or used.
Let us consider the application of biotechnology to the production of insulin vaccine for diabetes. This is an innovation in technology that was first carried out by Ely Lilly Company, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. Before it produced insulin through biotechnology it was produced by Dr. Fredrick Banting and his medical student-friend, Mr. Charles Best, based on ideas got by Dr. Banting from earlier works on the pancreas. First they cut off the pancreas of a dog and it began to suffer diabetes. Next, they ground up the pancreas and injected it into the dog and in time it recovered fully.
Professor John MacLeod whose laboratory they used and who provided them the dogs that they experimented with gave them some pancreases of cows to use. The extract that they produced with it was called “insulin.” Mr. Bertram Collip, a biochemist, joined them and helped purify the insulin. What they did next, which the people who recommend and impose innovation in agriculture and medicine and the ingestion of GM foods and vaccines do not do, is that they injected the insulin into themselves. They developed symptoms of lack of enough glucose called hypoglycemia. This is blood glucose level less than 4 mmol/L (72mg/dL). They reversed their insulin levels successfully. Then they induced glycoclycemia in other people and reversed all the cases successfully also.
Confidently, they injected their insulin into Leonard Thompson, a boy of 14 years who was dying due to diabetes, and he recovered fully. They did this to many other people who had diabetes and all of them recovered fully. As the news of their success spread Ely Lilly presented seemingly humanitarian argument that it was absolutely necessary to produce insulin in large quantity in order to save diabetic patients dying and that the method of Banting, Best and Collip could not produce the quantity of the insulin that was absolutely necessary for saving lives.
Ely Lilly applied biotechnology as innovation to the production of insulin. Take a very serious note of the fact that none of its insulin has cured any diabetic since it was developed and began to be injected to diabetic patients to this day. It serves for managing diabetes until the diabetic patient dies. It has been earning stupendous incomes from the sale of the biotechnology-based insulin, however. Ely Lilly is in Nigeria. In fact, no insulin in the market cures diabetics as much as my investigation reveals. They all manage diabetics. Money is spent until a diabetic patient dies.
Secondly, for all the centuries that foods were produced with natural organisms – natural seeds, stems, nuts, leaves, tubers and animals – they were safe by their nature for human and animal consumption, but since biotechnology and genetic engineering began to be applied to agriculture as innovation no GM food, produced by the GMOs, which are produced with them, has been shown to be safe anywhere in the world. All safety studies so far carried out with GMOs and GM foods have shown that they are by their nature and development toxic, allergenic, carcinogenic, lack vital nutrients, and are deadly. The deaths due to these diseases and cases of infertility also continue to rise.
Therefore, should we innovate? How should be innovate if we should innovate?
• Mr. Odor is of Pieray Awele & Associates, Independent Researchers and Public Good Promoters, Lagos.
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