The growing health disparities between the developing and the developed world call for urgent action from the scientific community. Science and technology have in the past played a vital role in improving public health. Today, with the tremendous potential of genomics and other advances in the life sciences, the contribution of science to improve public health and reduce global health disparities is more pertinent than ever before. Yet the benefits of modern medicine still have not reached millions of people in developing countries. It is crucial to recognize that science and technology can be used very effectively in partnership with public health practices in developing countries and can enhance their efficacy.
The fight to improve global health needs, in addition to effective public health measures, requires rapid and efficient diagnostic tools; new vaccines and drugs, efficient delivery methods and novel approaches to therapeutics; and low-cost restoration of water, soil and other natural resources. In 2002, the University of Toronto published a report on the "Top 10 Biotechnologies for Improving Health in Developing Countries". Here we review these new and emerging biotechnologies and explore how they can be used to support the goals of developing countries in improving health.