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Medicinal Biodiversity Module – Backlines

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Medicinal Biodiversity Module – Backlines.

Medicinal Biodiversity = cures

Biodiversity key to important medical breakthroughs – history confirms

Bridgewater ‘12

(et al – Professor Peter Bridgewater is an Australian conservationist. He has served as The Chief Scientist of the UK Nature Conservancy Council and Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention on the Protection of Wetlands of International Importance, HEALTHY PLANET, HEALTHY PEOPLE ‐ A Guide to Human Health and Biodiversity. Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Montreal.

Indirectly, changes in ecosystem services affect livelihoods, income, and local migration and, on occasion, may even cause political conflict. For example, there are often no mechanisms for winning compensation from those who damage the environment for those who have lost as a result. Upstream mining activities do not generally pay those downstream for the fish they can no longer eat, or for health impacts such mining may cause. Additionally, species-level biodiversity is an important repository of knowledge that carries important benefits for the biological, health, and pharmacological sciences. Significant medical and pharmacological discoveries have been made through understanding of the earth's biodiversity over millennia. Biodiversity change, especially loss at species level, will inevitably limit discovery of potential treatments for many health problems.

Medicinal species key to check forthcoming wave of new diseases.

McNeely ‘6

(et al; Jeffrey A McNeely Chief Scientist IUCN. Gland. Switzerland – from the chapter “The Future of Medicinal Biodiversity” – a section from the book: Conserving Medicinal Species Securing a Healthy Future – available at:

It is in our own interest to conserve medicinal biodiversity. We are seeing the emergence of increasing numbers of new infectious diseases, and history has indicated that at least some potential treatments to such diseases are likely to come from nature, if only we have the wisdom to conserve the full diversity of genetic resources so that they are available when they are needed.

New Pathogens Coming

New pathogens are coming – they will overwhelm current defenses and they won’t burn-out. Gaining biodiversity knowledge is key.

Heal ‘99

Geoffrey Heal – Garrett Professor of Public Policy and Corporate Responsibility @ Columbia University – this is from a piece called “BIODIVERSITY AS A COMMODITY”. This piece was ultimately published as an entry in of Professor Heal’s book The Encyclopedia of Biodiversity, Academic Press, 2000. Available at:

These cases illustrate clearly the insurance role of biodiversity. It is an important defense against disaster in the form of new diseases. The pathogens that cause disease are evolving continually, in an attempt to outwit our defenses against them. A clear example of this phenomenon is the evolution of antibiotic resistance amongst bacteria. The bacteria that cause several once common diseases in humans are now showing resistance to their principal controls, to the great concern of public health authorities. The same is happening with the pathogens that cause disease in crops and in commercial animals. Without reserves of genetic variability we may not be able to develop varieties of our agricultural crops and animals that can resist these new disease varieties. Indeed, it is precisely genetic variability in the pathogens that allows them to develop resistance. Genetic variability means that some of the disease-causing pathogens are naturally relatively unaffected by our defenses against them, which may be in the form of weedkillers, insecticides or vaccinations for livestock. These more resistant specimens are the ones that survive and from which new subsequent generations are bred. So pathogens use against us just the mechanisms that we would use against them if we preserve and use genetic diversity. Without this diversity, we have disarmed unilaterally in the war against our most threatening enemies.

Yes, disease = extinction

( ) Disease can cause extinction

Torrey ‘5

E. Fuller Torrey and Robert H Yolken, Directors Stanley Medical Research Institute, Beasts of the Earth: Animals, Humans and Disease, p. 5-6

The outcome of this marriage, however, is not as clearly defined as it was once thought to be. For many years, it was believed that microbes and human slowly learn to live with each other as microbes evolve toward a benign coexistence wit their hosts. Thus, the bacterium that causes syphilis was thought to be extremely virulent when it initially spread among humans in the sixteenth century, then to have slowly become less virulent over the following three centuries. This reassuring view of microbial history has recently been challenged by Paul Ewald and others, who have questioned whether microbes do necessarily evolve toward long-term accommodation with their hosts. Under certain circumstances, Ewald argues, “Natural selection may…favor the evolution of extreme harmfulness if the exploitation that damages the host [i.e. disease] enhances the ability of the harmful variant to compete with a more benign pathogen.” The outcome of such a “marriage” may thus be the murder of one spouse by the other. In eschatological terms, this view argues that a microbe such as HIV or SARS virus may be truly capable of eradicating the human race.

( ) Disease causes extinction

Keating ‘9

(Joshua, Web Editor – Foreign Policy Magazine, “The End of the World”, Foreign Policy, 11-13,

How it could happen: Throughout history, plagues have brought civilizations to their knees. The Black Death killed more off more than half of Europe's population in the Middle Ages. In 1918, a flu pandemic killed an estimated 50 million people, nearly 3 percent of the world's population, a far greater impact than the just-concluded World War I. Because of globalization, diseases today spread even faster - witness the rapid worldwide spread of H1N1 currently unfolding. A global outbreak of a disease such as ebola virus -- which has had a 90 percent fatality rate during its flare-ups in rural Africa -- or a mutated drug-resistant form of the flu virus on a global scale could have a devastating, even civilization-ending impact. How likely is it? Treatment of deadly diseases has improved since 1918, but so have the diseases. Modern industrial farming techniques have been blamed for the outbreak of diseases, such as swine flu, and as the world’s population grows and humans move into previously unoccupied areas, the risk of exposure to previously unknown pathogens increases. More than 40 new viruses have emerged since the 1970s, including ebola and HIV. Biological weapons experimentation has added a new and just as troubling complication.

A-to “Drugs might not get approved”

Approval is not a large obstacle – recent history confirms.

Nelson ‘12

Emily Rose Nelson. Her reports have been cited by Dr. Gerry Goeden, a Malaysian based marine ecologist, Research Fellow and Advisor to the National University of Malaysia in his work for Epoch Times. Nelson wrote this piece as an intern at the RJ Dunlap Marine Conservation Program at the University of Miami. This reports footnotes information from the peer-reviewed journals the Biologist and the Journal of Pharmacy Research – “Drugs from the deep: Ocean bioprospecting” ––December 14, 2012 –

Oceans cover over 70% of the earth’s surface. Some of the greatest biological diversity in the world is found in the seas. Over 200,000 species of invertebrates and algae have been identified, and this number is estimated to be only a small fraction of what is yet to be discovered. This immense biodiversity yields great chemical diversity. When working with potential pharmaceuticals this becomes extremely important, more chemically diverse substances are more suitable. The field of marine natural products is just over 40 years old and already over 15,000 chemical compounds have been identified as having biological function. Many of these chemicals have cancer fighting potential. Many sessile organisms emit chemicals to prevent others from evading their space. Often times these chemicals are used to slow and prevent cell growth of surrounding sponges, etc. It is believed that the same chemicals these organisms let out when competing for space can be used to stop the uncontrolled division of cancer cells. Cancer treatment compounds have advanced quite a bit due to funding from the National Cancer Institute. Discodermolide is a polypeptide isolated from deep water sponges (Discodermia). This substance stops the reproduction of cancer cells by disrupting the microtubule network (partially responsible for movement of cells). Bryostatin, a substance released by some bryozoans, is believed to be particularly useful against leukemia and melanoma. The Caribbean mangrove tunicate produces a compound (Ecteinascidin-743 or ET-743) that has been tested in humans for the treatment of breast and ovarian cancers and found to be effective. While cancer fighting treatments have received the most attention, discoveries have been made in many areas. Increased understanding of the highly specified modes of activity of these chemicals and their roles in the natural world allows scientists to better understand their use to humans. Many of these compounds are on the route to approval, and in the near future we will start to see a surge of marine pharmaceuticals. Filter feeders are constantly circulating water and small organisms through their system, thus they are continually exposed to parasites and disease causing bacteria. The chemicals they use to defend themselves could also be of use to humans. Ziconotide, a cysteine rich peptide, has been found to fight against neuropathic pain. These toxins, derived from the cone snail, are approximately 1,000 times more powerful than morphine. The sponge Petrosia contignata produces a strong anti-inflammatory with the potential for asthma treatment. Another group of anti-inflammatories comes from Caribbean soft corals and sea whips. These are used to reduce swelling and skin irritation. The use of marine chemical resources does not stop with pharmaceuticals. They can also be found in nutritional supplements, cosmetics and more.

A-To “Diseases will Burnout”

Note to students: also see the Heal ’99 ev from header “New Pathogens are coming”. It is quite strong on this point as well.

( ) No burn out – Diseases cause extinction

Guterl ‘12

Fred Guterl, Executive Editor of Scientific American, Former Senior Editor at Newsweek, Professor at Princeton University, The Fate of the Species: Why the Human Race May Cause Its Own Extinction and How We Can Stop It, p. 1-2

Over the next few years, the bigger story turned out not to be SARS, which trailed off quickly, bur avian influenza, or bird flu. It had been making the rounds among birds in Southeast Asia for years. An outbreak in 1997 Hong Kong and another in 2003 each called for the culling of thousands of birds and put virologists and health workers into a tizzy. Although the virus wasn't much of a threat to humans, scientists fretted over the possibility of a horrifying pandemic. Relatively few people caught the virus, but more than half of them died. What would happen if this bird flu virus made the jump to humans? What if it mutated in a way that allowed it to spread from one person to another, through tiny droplets of saliva in the air? One bad spin of the genetic roulette wheel and a deadly new human pathogen would spread across the globe in a matter of days. With a kill rate of 60 percent, such a pandemic would be devastating, to say the least. Scientists were worried, all right, but the object of their worry was somewhat theoretical. Nobody knew for certain if such a supervirus was even possible. To cause that kind of damage to the human population, a flu virus has to combine two traits: lethality and transmissibility. The more optimistically minded scientists argued that one trait precluded the other, that if the bird flu acquired the ability to spread like wildfire, it would lose its ability to kill with terrifying efficiency. The virus would spread, cause some fever and sniffles, and take its place among the pantheon of ordinary flu viruses that come and go each season. The optimists, we found out last fall, were wrong. Two groups of scientists working independently managed to create bird flu viruses in the lab that had that killer combination of lethality and transmissibility among humans. They did it for the best reasons, of course—to find vaccines and medicines to treat a pandemic should one occur, and more generally to understand how influenza viruses work. If we're lucky, the scientists will get there before nature manages to come up with the virus herself, or before someone steals the genetic blueprints and turns this knowledge against us. Influenza is a natural killer, but we have made it our own. We have created the conditions for new viruses to flourish—among pigs in factory farms and live animal markets and a connected world of international trade and travel—and we've gone so far as to fabricate the virus ourselves. Flu is an excellent example of how we have, through our technologies and our dominant presence on the planet, begun to multiply the risks to our own survival.

A-to “International Actors will contain the disease”

( ) No political will for containment

Walsh ‘14

Bryan, syndicated columnist on environmental affairs, “MERS Shows That the Next Pandemic Is Only a Plane Flight Away,” Time, 5/5,

The surest way to prevent the spread of new infectious disease would be to shut down international travel and trade, which is obviously not going to happen. The occasional pandemic might simply be one of the prices we pay for a globalized world. But we can do much more to try to detect and snuff out new pathogens before they endanger the health of the planet. Because most new diseases emerge in animals before jumping to human beings (the virus that causes MERS seems to infect humans mostly via camel, though bats may be the original source), we need to police the porous boundary between animal health and human health. That work is being done by groups like Global Viral (whose founder I profiled in November 2011) is creating an early warning system capable of forecasting and containing new pathogens before they fuel pandemics. But as the stubborn spread of MERS shows, that’s easier said than done — especially if diseases emerge in countries that have less than open political systems. Because as it turns out, the driving factor behind the spread of new diseases isn’t just globalization. It’s also political denial. SARS was able to spread beyond China’s borders in part because the Chinese government initially covered up the outbreaks — at one point even driving SARS patients around Beijing in ambulances to hide them from an international health team. Meanwhile, the autocratic Saudi government has made life difficult for researchers studying MERS. Much the same thing happened when the avian flu virus H5N1 began spreading in Southeast Asia in 2004. In every case, a rapid and public response might have contained those viruses before they threatened the rest of the world. Eleven years later Hong Kong’s Metropole Hotel is now called the Metropark, and Liu Jianlun’s infamous room 911 doesn’t exist any more. After SARS, hotel management changed the number to 913 in an attempt to scrub out the past. Denial is always so tempting. But in an interconnected world, where the travel plans of a single person can seed deadly outbreaks a continent away, it’s no longer an option.

A-to Anthro-Style K of Medicinal Species

( ) Must frame BioD as impacting human health. Strategies like the Alt won’t change behavior. Only our strategy saves human and non-human animals.

Chivian ‘6

Dr. Eric S. Chivian is the founder and Director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School, where he is also an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry – “Medicines from Natural Sources: How Human Health Depends on Nature” – a section from the book: Conserving Medicinal Species Securing a Healthy Future – available at:

I have mentioned these few species as examples of the scope and magnitude of what we are losing with a loss of biodiversity, the rich library of chemical information that is the result of billions of years of evolution and of all the evolutionary experiments that have taken place during that time. I could have mentioned countless others that have unique body processes like bears or that manufacture large numbers of powerful, biologically active compounds like cone snails that will help us better understand how our bodies work and that may help us prevent and treat human diseases that cause enormous numbers of deaths and suffering. In closing, I want to call your attention to a project our Center has organised under the auspices of the WHO, UNEP, and UNDP called 'Biodiversity and Human Health'. In our website you will find the interim executive summary for this project, which covers, not only some of what I have said this morning about medicines, but also looks at the contributions that biodiversity makes to medical research, world food production, ecosystem services, and human infectious diseases. The final report will be published as a hard-bound book by Oxford University Press in early 2006, and we expect editions in French, Spanish, Chinese, and Arabic. Stay tuned. We are in deep, deep trouble with what we are doing to the Earth, and the level of understanding about these issues is at such a primitive level, even at the very highest levels of government, including, I regret, my own government. I am convinced that people will protect other species and the ecosystems in which they, and all the rest of us, live when they recognize that their health and lives, and the health and lives of their children, depend on the health of the natural world. I do not believe that aesthetic and ethical and even economic arguments are compelling enough to motivate people to act as wise stewards of life on this planet. They must, instead, understand that they really have no other choice. And so our job is one of education, and that is something we can do. We must, all of us, learn as much as we can about these issues so that we can educate others - scientists, policy-makers, political leaders, and the public - so that we can help them understand that their health is ultimately dependent on the health of the global environment.

Framing species as “medicinal” avoids bad forms of narcissism and promotes a new, broader green agenda.

McNeely ‘9

(et al; Jeffrey A McNeely Chief Scientist IUCN. Gland. Switzerland – “The road to recovery” – WORLD CONSERVATION • APRIL 2009 –

The actions that we take today will affect our health tomorrow and in the future. Environmental degradation from habitat loss, over-exploitation and climate change all have implications for human health, particularly through the loss of medicinal biodiversity— the subset of biodiversity that supports human health and well-being. This loss will affect us all—rich and poor, young and old and everyone in between. Looking at biodiversity through a human health lens can provide new perspectives on conservation. It can take biodiversity out of the unique realm of ministries of environment and put its conservation at the heart of efforts to tackle poverty, food security, climate change and many other global challenges. A broad suite of measures are needed to safeguard medicinal biodiversity at all levels (local to global) and by all stakeholders. Support is needed for the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) provisions on sustainable use of medicinal biodiversity and for the other international conventions that deal with biodiversity conservation, notably the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) which addresses medicinal species of animals (such as rhinos and tigers) and plants (such as Hoodia or devil’s claw). Climate change has far-reaching implications for both human health and biodiversity and these must be addressed together under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. To date, health issues have received inadequate attention by the Parties to the climate convention. And actions taken in one Convention should complement and build on those taken in others.

( ) Medicinal species Reps spur pragmatic green agenda.

McNeely ‘6

(et al; Jeffrey A McNeely Chief Scientist IUCN. Gland. Switzerland – from the chapter “The Future of Medicinal Biodiversity” – a section from the book: Conserving Medicinal Species Securing a Healthy Future – available at:

Looking at biodiversity through the lens of human health can help provide new perspectives on policy and practice of biodiversity conservation with a view to supporting human health. Demonstrating biodiversity's links to human health takes biodiversity out of the unique realm of ministries of environment and instead, puts conservation at the very centre of humanitarian concerns. Such links can help to influence public opinion in support of efforts to conserve genes, species and ecosystems.

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