Matar las curas

BOSTON – La diversidad biológica es esencial para el funcionamiento de los ecosistemas –desde los bosques y las aguas dulces hasta los arrecifes de coral, los suelos e incluso la atmósfera– que sustentan toda la vida en la Tierra. La actual desaparición en rápido aumento de dicha diversidad perjudicará la sociedad en multitud de formas. Una forma que con frecuencia se pasa por alto es las consecuencias perjudiciales para la ciencia médica.

Durante milenios, los facultativos médicos han utilizado substancias de la naturaleza para los tratamientos y las curas: aspirina procedente del sauce y, más recientemente, TaxolMR, el innovador medicamento contra el cáncer, procedente de la corteza del tejo del Pacífico. Algunos de los mayores adelantos pueden estar aún por descubrir, pero sólo podrá ser así, si se conserva la cornucopia de la naturaleza, para que las generaciones actuales y futuras de investigadores puedan hacer nuevos descubrimientos que beneficien a los pacientes en todas partes.

Pensemos en el oso polar, amenazado de extinción en el medio natural por el cambio climático. Esos mamíferos pasan hasta siete meses del año en hibernación, período durante el cual permanecen esencialmente inmóviles. Un ser humano perdería una tercera parte o más de la masa ósea, si pasara todo ese tiempo inmóvil.

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