The year 2021, which is nearing its end, witnessed a number of medicine discoveries and breakthroughs that contributed to the treatment and prevention of a number of diseases.
List of the Medicine Breakthroughs this Year
The following are the most important medicine breakthroughs in 2021, according to the Popsci website:
Two Pioneering Vaccines for the Coronavirus
Two types of coronavirus vaccines have been licensed this year, Pfizer and Moderna, and they are highly effective in protecting against the virus.
At least 28 promising vaccines have been tested in humans, and 15 have been approved for use worldwide.
But these two vaccines have emerged as an effective weapon in humanity’s war against the deadly Coronavirus.
New Treatment for a Rare Fatal Disease
Zokinvy is the first FDA-approved treatment for Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome, a rare disease that causes premature aging.
People with Hutchinson-Gilford progeria rarely live beyond 15 years, and the new drug prevents the buildup of the defective progerin, thereby reducing the damage it can do.
In addition to extending life by several years, the new drug also reduces symptoms of heart and bone problems associated with the rare condition, which affects nearly 400 children worldwide.
A Big Step Forward in Gene Therapy
Since 2012, researchers have been editing CRISPR, a gene-editing tool that easily modifies the human genome, to treat diseases caused by DNA mutations.
But until this year, the method, which involves injecting a patient with modified stem cells, was only used to treat conditions whose mutations are in the bloodstream, such as sickle cell anemia.
And in August of 2021, researchers published the results of a six-person clinical trial in which doctors attempted to fix a genetic defect that causes a rare liver condition.
Putting them inside a tiny bubble called lipid nanoparticles, the gene-editing technology made its way to the liver, where it went to work on correcting the faulty cells.
There is still a long way to go before this treatment, which is still in phase 1 clinical trials, finds its way to the market. But, if successful, it could pave the way for treating a wide range of genetic conditions.
New Treatment to Fight Ebola
When infected with Ebola Zaire, patients can experience high fever, severe bleeding, and organ failure, which is fatal in half of the cases.
Researchers at biotech company Regeneron have now created monoclonal antibodies, molecules made in a laboratory that mimic the action of the immune system’s natural defenses to help eliminate invaders to target the disease.
Inmazeb is a combination of three antibodies that target a protein on the surface of the Ebola virus.
In a clinical trial, 66.2 % of 154 people who received the treatment survived, compared to just 49 % of 153 people who did not.
Although monoclonal antibodies are not a surefire cure, they have been crucial in treating many viral diseases.
Coronavirus First Home Test
The Ellume test was the first of its kind to receive clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration, allowing testing of coronavirus infection at home without seeing a doctor or medical center.
The test consists of a nasal swab, dropper, medicated fluid, and solution. The app takes you through step-by-step usage instructions.
A Better Way to Repair an Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tear
The ACL runs diagonally across the middle of the knee and is vital in keeping our bodies upright and stable, but it is prone to tearing.
Repairing a torn ACL requires surgery, and sometimes reconstruction — surgery in which a piece of tendon and bone is taken from another part of the body, or from a donor, to rebuild the torn ligament.
Replacing that material, the newly approved FDA-approved BEAR implant, made of bovine collagen, is held in place between the ends of the torn ACL to hold them together. The device is absorbed by the patient’s body within a few months, meanwhile, new healthy tissue grows in its place.
More Accurate Computerized Tomography (CT) Examinations
CT scans provide detailed images of the inside of the human body that help diagnose and track disease and injury.
Conventional scanners create the images by combining the total energy from several X-rays.
During this process, some of the energy from the X-rays is lost, resulting in lower resolution.
Siemens’ new scanner called the Naeotom Alpha uses photon-counting detectors to measure every particle of light that comes through, resulting in clearer and more contrasting images of the body’s internal processes.
The cheapest Insulin Ever
Semglee interchangeable biosimilar Insulin Replacement – the first of its kind to be approved by the FDA, comes in 10ml vials and 3ml pre-filled pens and is administered subcutaneously once daily to patients.
The First Malaria Vaccine
By some estimates, malaria kills about half a million people worldwide each year and a vaccine is born
The new Mosquirix immune response against Plasmodium falciparum, which is among the five deadliest parasites that cause malaria, and the strains most prevalent throughout Africa.
The vaccine has received approval from the World Health Organization, giving it the green light for wider distribution and use. While vaccination is only 50 percent effective against severe malaria, with a significant decrease in effectiveness after a year, it is still one of the best ways to prevent the deadly disease.
this year was different than any other, we are getting used to the new normal lifestyle, the world has witnessed new medicine breakthroughs.
Medicine breakthroughs in the upcoming years will largely be in the area of personalized medicine and precision diagnostics.
New drugs will also be discovered, and we can expect to see more immunization programs against diseases such as measles and polio.
The progress in the field of medical research has been tremendous over the past few decades.
There is a continuous stream of innovative approaches to finding new treatments, diagnosing diseases, testing new drugs, and so on. Some of these advances have been huge breakthroughs that have changed the way we live our lives.