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Affordable insulin

Date: 28 September 2019 Tags: Miscellaneous


Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, philanthropist and founder of Biocon, said she would enable universal access to high quality insulin by making available recombinant human Insulin (rh-Insulin) at less than 10 U.S. cents /day in low and middle-income countries.



Ms. Mazumdar-Shaw made the above personal commitment at a United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) meeting on innovation and universal health access, convened by UNAIDS Health Innovation Exchange.



  • Insulin is a peptide hormone produced by beta cells of the pancreatic islets and is considered to be the main anabolic hormone of the body.

  • It regulates the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and protein by promoting the absorption of carbohydrates, especially glucose from the blood into liver, fat and skeletal muscle cells.

  • The absorbed glucose is converted into either glycogen via glycogenesis or fats (triglycerides) via lipogenesis,  or,  in the case of the liver, into both.

  •  Glucose production and secretion by the liver is strongly inhibited by high concentrations of insulin in the blood.

Abnormality in Insulin

  • If beta cells are destroyed by an autoimmune reaction, insulin can no longer be synthesized or be secreted into the blood.

  • This results in type 1 diabetes mellitus, which is characterized by abnormally high blood glucose concentrations, and generalized body wasting.

  • In type 2 diabetes mellitus the destruction of beta cells is less pronounced than in type 1 diabetes, and is not due to an autoimmune process. Instead there is an accumulation of amyloid in the pancreatic islets, which likely disrupts their anatomy and physiology.

  • Type 2 diabetes is characterized by high rates of glucagon secretion into the blood which are unaffected by, and unresponsive to the concentration of glucose in the blood.

Artificial Insulin synthesis

  • Biosynthetic human insulin (insulin human rDNA, INN) for clinical use is manufactured by recombinant DNA technology.

  • Biosynthetic human insulin has increased purity when compared with extractive animal insulin, enhanced purity reducing antibody formation.

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