With over 8,19,97,581 reported COVID-19 cases and 17,89,912 reported deaths, 2020 has been a tragic year when it comes to health. But, it’s hard to neglect the incredible life-changing health breakthroughs from 2020.
From manufacturing a COVID-19 vaccine to curing a person of AIDS, research has gone through a lot of progress. Here are some of the top health advances to be excited about in 2021.
The Second HIV Cured Patient
The second HIV cured patient is Mr. Adam Castillejo. Mr. Castillejo’s journey towards recovery was not entirely straightforward. He was cured of HIV when a received a bone marrow transplant for lymphoma.
Lymphoma is a type of cancer that arises in the cells of the lymphatic system. Essentially, this type of cancer is concerning as it affects the disease-fighting network of the human body (NIH, 2020).
Castillejo was cured as his bone marrow transplant donor had a mutation that impeded the ability of HIV to enter his cells. The transplant made Mr. Castillejo’s immune system resistant to the virus.
In the future, doctors and researchers hope to use gene therapy to target the CCR5 receptors of HIV positive patients.
Gene therapy is a technique that uses genes to treat or prevent diseases. As a part of gene therapy, immunotherapy (vaccines) and direct antiviral therapy are currently being studied. Right now, various strategies of gene therapy are in the clinical trial stage. Even though research has to go through various hurdles, doctors believe that gene therapy could be a cure for HIV.
Gene Therapy For Sickle Cell Disease
Sickle cell disease is a genetic disorder that reduces the number of healthy red blood cells that can carry oxygen throughout the body.
As of today, sickle cell disease affects thousands of people worldwide and researchers hope to find a cure with the help of gene therapy. The idea behind gene therapy is to remove a defective gene and fix a devastating genetic disease.
Researchers have been working on a cure for years and in 2020 they have made breakthrough developments. They have tried a method that tricks the defective gene into reverting to a healthier version called fetal hemoglobin. This technique has shown promising results in 8 patients and scientists are hoping that the change will last a lifetime.
New Birth Control In Years
There have been no new birth control products for women in years and 2020 has changed that.
Women looking for non-hormonal birth control now have access to a new product known as Phexxi. Phexxi is a prescription gel that can make the vagina more acidic and less welcoming to sperm.
Telehealth Advancements In 2020
Telemedicine has been around for years, but the rising technology adoption in the wake of COVID-19 has boosted its growth.
Along with COVID-19, the need for better healthcare access, and the rising demand for preventive care are boosting the growth of Telehealth. As per research, the global telehealth market is expected to grow at a 37.7% CAGR between 2020 – 2025.
In 2019, who would have thought that so many of us would be able to comfortably visit a doctor from the comfort of our own home?
The intelligent algorithms that were developed in 2020 now have the potential to transform both the diagnosis and the treatment of several medical conditions.
For instance, technology now is changing the phase of kidney care in many countries including the UAE. Doctors are using ai to analyze patient records and enhance support.
COVID-19 Vaccine In 2020
Vaccines save millions of lives every year & the COVID-19 vaccine gives hope for better days in 2021. In 2020 researchers came together to generate a vaccine that could prepare our immune system for the COVID-19 virus.
By mid-December 2020, there were 57 vaccine candidates in clinical research trials, 40 in phase I-II trials, and 17 in phase II-III trials.
So far, the national regulatory authorities of several countries have approved 6 vaccines for public use (tozinameran, mRNA-1273, BIBP-CorV, CoronaVac, Gam-COVID-Vac, AZD1222). These vaccines could potentially save millions of lives from the deadly pandemic that has interrupted life across the globe.
Overall 2020 has been a devastating year in many ways, but it has also brought us several life-changing developments in the field of medicine.