Gold as a Force for Good in Global Health

Posted on

Few realize the value of gold in the public health sector. Too often gold is considered a store of wealth, a part of the jewelry industry, or a component in electronics. The purpose of gold in medical solutions goes unnoticed. Slowly, the COVID crisis is revealing just how important gold is for keeping countriesHealthcare workers placing specimen tube in plastic bag healthy.

The link between gold and global health is found within the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 3). This initiative was formed in 2015 by the UN General Assembly. The non-profit’s mission statement is clear, they want to build “A blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all people and the world by

2030.” Some of the 17 areas that make up the SDG include good health and well-being, sustainable cities and communities, clean water and sanitation, no poverty, and reducing inequality.

Gold is a necessary part of these plans because it is a component of crucial healthcare applications. These diagnostics use “lateral flow assays,” or LFAs which are nanoparticles of gold that serve as an indicator of a positive or negative result. The accuracy and portability of these tests have made them a cornerstone of large-scale public health efforts. As a result, LFAs have become a part of malaria tests, and HIV/AIDS tests.

Healthcare leaders once again turned to gold for answers when the COIVD crisis emerged as a global threat. Officials needed tests that offered speed and accuracy. Today, there are more than 300 different COVID-19 antigen immunoassay tests that are certified or in development, many of which use gold. This means that gold is now an indispensable resource in the plan to get the global population back on its feet. In fact, gold is more than a diagnostic tool, it is also an ingredient in medicine. Consider, Auranofin a drug once used to treat acute cases of rheumatoid arthritis which includes gold salts which are ionic chemical compounds of gold.

Drugs like Auranofin and tests like those developed to detect COVID are examples of the value gold has beyond an investment instrument. These examples are important because they illustrate an overlooked truth about gold, which is that its value is more than speculative. Gold is not valuable merely because we all agree it is. Gold is also valuable because it is a structural support for innovations that keep people alive.

In the future gold is likely to become an even more important part of healthcare as nanotechnology emerges as a key tool in managing illnesses. This is the case with gold nanoparticles (GNPs) can be easily modified and are stable which makes them an ideal material for delivering drugs into cancerous tumors via pathways in enlarged blood vessels. Additionally, GNPs may help medical professionals get better at targeting specific tumors because they can be heated fast when hit by lasers of specific wavelengths. This kind of a solution would dramatically reduce, or even eliminate the use of drugs with harmful side effects.

Gold is doing more than delivering returns, it is delivering hope.

Want to read more? Subscribe to the Blanchard Newsletter and get our tales from the vault, our favorite stories from around the world and the latest tangible assets news delivered to your inbox weekly.