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South-South Superpower Science

SciDev.net notes an announcement that India and China are set to begin joint biomedical research, focusing on both traditional medicine and stem cells -- the latter due, in part, to China's stricter regulatory standards on stem cell work.

In the field of traditional medicine, these include surveying and documenting medicinal plants, creating scientist exchange schemes, and developing systems for both approving the sale of traditional medicines and regulating the trade. [...] India sees stem cells as a key area for research... But despite government support and scientific know-how, the sector has been plagued by concerns over India's lack of a regulatory authority to ensure that guidelines are being followed.

Traditional rivals China and India working together on research on ancient and cutting-edge medicine, with China as the responsible, conservative partner. It's hard to imagine a better demonstration that we live in counter-intuitive times.


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