Todgeweiht durch gute Absichten?

von Abdallah S. Daar und Peter A. Singer

Man geht davon aus, dass die Lebenserwartung in Botswana im Jahr 2010 auf etwa 30 Jahre fallen wird, wenn die AIDS-Epidemie weiterhin unkontrolliert bleibt. In Kanada liegt die Lebenserwartung bei über 80 Jahren mit steigender Tendenz. Eine solch schockierende Unausgewogenheit bei der Gesundheit ist vielleicht die größte ethische Herausforderung der heutigen Zeit. Kann die sich entwickelnde Revolution in der Genomforschung (die Wissenschaft aller Gene als eine Einheit im Gegensatz zu einzelnen Genen) und in der Biotechnologie dafür genutzt werden, diese Unausgewogenheit zu verringern? Wir glauben, dass diese Frage mit ``Ja'' zu beantworten ist, wenn bestimmte Bedingungen erfüllt werden.

Erstens dürfen wir die Genomforschung/Biotechnologie nicht fälschlicherweise als ``Hightech'', teuer und demzufolge irrelevant für Entwicklungsländer betrachten. Impfstoffe waren und sind nach wie vor Hightech, aber sie sind günstiger geworden und haben in den Entwicklungsländern umfassende Wirkung gezeigt. In vielen Entwicklungsländern zählen genetische Störungen zu den wichtigsten Gefahren für die öffentliche Gesundheit. Die laufende Entschlüsselung der Genome für Malaria, den Tuberkel-Bazillus, Lepra, Hepatitisviren und HIV geben ernsthaft Anlass zur Hoffnung auf bessere Impfstoffe in der Zukunft. In Kenia wird bereits ein Impfstoff gegen HIV getestet. Essbare Impfstoffe aus transgenen Pflanzen werden für Entwicklungsländer vermutlich eher zweckmäßig sein als für Industrieländer, weil sie nicht gekühlt gelagert werden müssen.

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