The healthcare industry has made great strides in recent years when it comes to making lifesaving technology and medicines available to more people across the globe. However, the issue of how to create enough medications to treat diseases from malaria to high blood pressure continued to faze scientists until recently. With inventions like the artificial leaf, the question of how to make affordable medicines for people everywhere may soon be answered once and for all.
What the Artificial Leaf Means for Global Healthcare
One of the biggest challenges that doctors and medical workers face involves how to get lifesaving medicines to people who need them the most. While people in the U.S. and other western countries may not give a second thought to buying aspirin or ibuprofen at the pharmacy, people in lesser developed countries often suffer from the symptoms of their illnesses because these common medicines are not available to them. Even if the medications can be purchased, they often come at a cost that poorer populations cannot afford.
With technology like the artificial leaf, however, these drugs may become so readily available that their costs drop dramatically, allowing people in every part of the globe to buy them easily. The artificial leaf recreates the generation of vital chemicals found in photosynthesis. Because it can create these needed chemicals on demand and without any significant cost, the artificial leaf could be the key to creating medicine anytime and anywhere.
The leaf itself does not take a lot of money to make, which in turn could make it a common fixture in doctors’ offices and laboratories around the world. Dubbed a mini-factory by its Dutch scientist creators, the artificial leaf essentially utilizes inexpensive rubber hosing housed inside a plastic leaf of sorts.
The entire contraption has been given the more scientific name of a luminescent solar concentrator, or LSC. The LSC itself captures sunlight that is then converted into chemicals that can be used to make medications.
The Implication of the Artificial Leaf
While the public in general may appreciate the novelty of the artificial leaf, people in western countries may wonder why they should give another thought to it especially considering that they can easily get the medications they need at any pharmacy or drug store. What implication does this invention hold for people who do not live in countries already challenged by a shortage of healthcare services and lifesaving medicines?
In fact, people should care because the leaf demonstrates the future of medicine at its finest. For decades, scientists have struggled to come up with ways to revolutionize the healthcare industry so that services and medications drop in price and increase in availability while at the same time maintaining or improving the quality of care that patients receive.
The leaf may be one of the better known inventions that scientists in the medical industry call a nanodevice. Nanodevices that utilize solar power are on the verge of reshaping the healthcare market as scientists discover new ways to use them for monitors and sensors as well as generators of much-needed yet sparse medicines. The artificial leaf is the latest technology that shows that solar power is the wave of the future when it comes to improved and more affordable healthcare.
The idea of generating medicines whenever and wherever needed is one step closer to becoming a reality. Inventions like artificial leaves could bring lifesaving medicines to people around the world and make available healthcare that was once expensive and unrealistic for people in developing countries to obtain. This invention creates the chemicals that provide the basis of any pharmaceutical concoction.
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