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Plan for Amazonian jungle medicines is threatened

BMJ 2000; 321 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.321.7252.9 (Published 01 July 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;321:9
  1. Claire Wallerstein
  1. Caracas

    Ethnic and political arguments have paralysed an ambitious scheme to make an inventory of indigenous medicinal plants and remedies in Venezuela's Amazon jungle that could be used to develop drugs to fight cancer and AIDS. Preparations for the bioresearch project, involving 50 scientists from the Venezuelan Institute of Scien-tific Investigation and three Venezuelan universities, started with input from Oxford University's Foundation for Ethnobiology in 1991.

    The project's director, Dr Fabian Michelangeli, said: “It's impossible to underestimate the potential of this. Venezuela ranks sixth in terms of world biodiversity, with at least 25000 species of plants, of which around 2000 have medicinal uses.” An exciting aspect of the project …

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