Hopes high for a wealthier, greener and fairer world - Science & Technology

PUBLISHED : Friday, 01 January, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 01 January, 2010, 12:00am

The mainland has made startling advances in science and technology in recent years, and significant progress is expected in the coming year. Jia Hepeng , editor-in-chief of the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Science Weekly Magazine, says the most anticipated development will be the release of a drug that cures diabetes.

'It's a huge project. Many researchers are involved. The government has spent a huge amount of money,' Jia says. 'I eagerly anticipate the medicine will be released this year because clinical trials went well. Chinese citizens have been relying on generic drugs for too long. We can't produce any of the best medicine in the global market. We have to buy it from other countries at extremely high prices. It is a shame.'

Hundreds of millions of diabetes sufferers, will, for the first time, have access to a top-grade, made-in-China treatment, he says. 'It will be of top quality but low priced. It will be a cornerstone.'

Jia says the mainland is also expected to commercialise some genetically modified crops. 'I think there will be at least one species of corn that gets a commercial licence next year,' he says. 'The government has invested a lot of money and resources on genetically modified crops and it's about time that the efforts bear some fruit.

'Some rice species have already obtained bio-safety certificates. I am not sure if they will be commercialised this year, but large-scale experimental plantation will take place, for sure.'

This year should also be a big one for space exploration and energy production, according to schedules released by the central government.