Covid 19 in the last four months have caused devastating changes in ecosystems,food chains,biodiversity,population dynamics as people out of fear indulged in mass migration to distant homelands from metros.Industries have collapsed, employment has been disastrously affected and so also health,hygiene,sanitation,pollution.Human population is continuing to experience a surge in Covid infection and death.Lockdown has caused panic as persons confined in homes are experiencing stress,frustration that is affecting relationship in families and amongst neighbours.Military Industrial complex is facing new challenges on border in the form supplies of food,weapon,masks,dresses,and above all the psychological preparedness for a possible skirmish or war with China.Globally ,we are experiencing a problem of isolation,and getting disoriented in terms of what should be our priorities:_repair our health ,hygiene,sanitation system,control population,protect borders,grow more food,ensure safety of children,adult and old,restructure our defence forces,upgrade their equipment,refurbish all aspects of life by intensive use of Nanobiotechnolgy.
Nanotechnology deals with nanoparticles which are even smaller than Covid 19.They are now routinely produced and used in making sensors that are used in industrial production of instrument of defence and offence.They can track people,depots of ammunition,concentration of troops,communication between troops at individual levels and have liaison with Command Head Quarter.
Nanoparticles are used in genomic research to cause restructuring of Genetic material_DNA ,and RNA in case of RNA virus like Covid .This is Nanoengineering at the ultranano level.New strains of viruses and bacteria can be produced and used as microbiological weapons of mass destruction by remote control.The positive use of nanoparticles is in medical sciences.Nanoparticles quoted with anti cancer drugs can be injected into the patient where they enter circulation ,reach the site(s) of cancer tumours and selectively kill cancer cells.This technique is finding applications in agriculture,veterinary Science as well.In times to come the pharma industry will develop drug coated nanoparticles for curing various diseases including Covid type of killers.
Biotechnology emerged earlier as a tool to understand genomic profile of species_plant,animal and humans.Genomic maps could be prepared and the role of genes in giving expression to morphological,anatomical,physiological and biochemical characters could be ascertained.For instance ,one could find out which cluster of gene is responsible for colour of skin,pupil,height,etc.Biotechnological tools appeared in the form of enzymes that acted as molecular Scissors and glues.That meant one could make synthetic DNA and RNA and Genes by a process of insertion,ligation and deletion.Industrial applications soon became possible.Nucleotide sequence of genes that made Insulin,steroids,enzymes etc were worked out and patented.Many supply companies have emerged in West which sell Synthetic genes that would produce insulin,corticosteroid,sex steroids have emerged in West which sell Synthetic genes that would produce insulin,corticosteroid,sex steroids etc Through stem cell technology they can be implanted in patients suffering from disease and be cured.
As researches grew Nanotechnology and Biotechnology became inseperable.They were merged into one and called Nanobiotechnology.
Nanobiotechnology can be used in Gene conservation,repair,synthetic gene preparation,and used in bringing about changes in the seeds that will produce more,produce fruits with specific chemicals,drugs etc.The Covid attack has challenged scientist to find ways and means to produce better crops ,fruits free from infections,drugs,chemicals,increased production of quality prawns,fishes,goats,cattles that give milk with desired milk.Such milk is called designer milk.
Embryos of humans can have altered genome that may give them desired traits.Such Designer babies have been the subject of much controversy and debate.
Thus,the limitless possibilities of Nanobiotechnology can give us the methods of repairing our ecosystems,biodiversity,quality of human and animal population,clean water ,air and food security, remove the dangers of health hazards and diseases.The defence industrial complex will switch attention to producing nanosensors,nanotools.,etc.These technologies can help repair the damage inflicted by Covid.Our country needs to set up industries and facilities for research and development of Nanobiotechnology.
Dr. Lall is First class First M.Sc in Zoology,Gold medalist PhD from McMaster University Canada,WHO fellow in USA,Visiting Scientist in Several European and other countries,guided 23 Doctoral theses,published over 400 articles on Education,Science & Technology,Policy Planning and Administration, Conducted over 500 lectures pan India,North America etc.