An Appeal to the Global Health Community for a Tripartite Innovation: An "essential Diagnostics List," "health in All Policies," and "see-Through 21st Century Science and Ethics"
Mary Ann Liebert Inc.
School of Medical Sciences
Diagnostics spanning a wide range of new biotechnologies, including proteomics, metabolomics, and nanotechnology, are emerging as companion tests to innovative medicines. In this Opinion, we present the rationale for promulgating an "Essential Diagnostics List." Additionally, we explain the ways in which adopting a vision for "Health in All Policies" could link essential diagnostics with robust and timely societal outcomes such as sustainable development, human rights, gender parity, and alleviation of poverty. We do so in three ways. First, we propose the need for a new, "see through" taxonomy for knowledge-based innovation as we transition from the material industries (e.g., textiles, plastic, cement, glass) dominant in the 20th century to the anticipated knowledge industry of the 21st century. If knowledge is the currency of the present century, then it is sensible to adopt an approach that thoroughly examines scientific knowledge, starting with the production aims, methods, quality, distribution, access, and the ends it purports to serve. Second, we explain that this knowledge trajectory focus on innovation is crucial and applicable across all sectors, including public, private, or public-private partnerships, as it underscores the fact that scientific knowledge is a co-product of technology, human values, and social systems. By making the value systems embedded in scientific design and knowledge co-production transparent, we all stand to benefit from sustainable and transparent science. Third, we appeal to the global health community to consider the necessary qualities of good governance for 21st century organizations that will embark on developing essential diagnostics. These have importance not only for science and knowledge-based innovation, but also for the ways in which we can build open, healthy, and peaceful civil societies today and for future generations.