Since its outbreak, the COVID-19 pandemic has regularly featured among the most popular world news items. Although most of the information has often been quite unsettling, much attention has also been paid to novel coronavirus-related research. Some analysts believe that in 2022 the number of R&D activities related to COVID-19 will exceed those recorded in the previous year.
At the same time, some voices from the world of science claim that as well as the SARS CoV-2-related studies, in 2022 the world will witness advancements in cell therapies.
Bernard Marr, a popular Forbes contributor (on technology, energy, and agriculture trends), a futurist, and a strategic business and technology consultant to governments and corporations, provides his opinion on the most popular biotech trends of 2022. Since genetic engineering and DNA editing have been proved to have significant potential in a variety of fields, he believes that the worldwide biotech market is expected to grow. Experts anticipate that by 2030 the biotech market size will reach US$3.44 trillion.
According to Marr here are the top five biotech trends to watch in 2022:
Biotech trend #1. Personalized medicine
Medications today are mostly being developed based on the ‘one-size-fits-all’ model. Pharmaceutical companies are still carrying out trials to establish the formulas that would suit a larger group of people.
Being aware of the significance of DNA in human health and our bodies’ capacity to tackle diseases makes it easier to identify those groups of people where sickness has more likelihood of occurring, improve diagnoses and develop tailored treatments based on individual genetic characteristics.
Personalized medicine makes it possible for healthcare experts to:
- Move the focus of medicine away from reaction and towards prevention
- Improve disease identification
- Prevent disease progression
- Tailor disease-prevention techniques
- Prescribe more potent medications
- Cut the time, cost and failure rate of clinical studies
Biotech trend #2. Agricultural biotechnology
Biotechnology is used in agriculture to produce crops that provide higher yields and show improved resistance to pests and diseases. This trend is extremely important for regions where millions of people face severe hunger due to limited access to pest management and severe weather conditions that affect the growth of crops.
With the assistance of the IAEA, Cuba’s National Institute of Agricultural Science (INCA) has been adopting breeding programs that utilize biotechnology to create new varieties of tomatoes and soybeans that can better adapt to extreme weather conditions, particularly relevant in view of the fact that Cuba faces shifting rainfall patterns and extended periods of drought.
Trend #3. Biotech data – improved speed of pharmaceutical testing and approval of medications
After the rapid creation and approval of COVID-19 vaccines, significant efforts have been made to expedite the research and adoption of innovative medications for other illnesses. Much of this is based on studies and data from the area of biotechnology.
New pharmaceutical products have traditionally taken up to 10 years to negotiate their way through the lengthy authorization and certification procedures. Biotech data is being utilized to accelerate this process by permitting modeling interactions between drugs and the human body.
Biogen, for instance, is a pharmaceutical company whose unique medication for Alzheimer’s disease has been expedited because of biotech developments. More studies on the subject are expected to take place in 2022 which should lead to the faster creation of more effective medications and therapies for a disease that affects over 40 million people worldwide.
Biotech trend #4. Environmental biotechnology
Environmental biotechnology uses biological processes to solve challenges such as lowering pollution levels and producing renewable power by exploiting biological processes. This branch of biotechnology can, for instance, make use of microbial organisms to benefit humanity. Furthermore, advancements in biotech may allow us to employ new processes to produce green energy from agricultural and industrial waste.
The use of biological organisms developed exclusively to break down plastics in order to improve their recycling effectiveness was described by researchers in the Journal of King Saud University – Science (Volume 33, Issue 6).
Biotech trend #5. Artificial (cultured or cell-based) meat
Today, forests are cut down to be transformed into pastures and crop fields as the worldwide demand for meat rises. With this in mind, researchers have been working to create cell-based meat using animal cells in laboratory conditions. Some industry experts believe that cellular agriculture represents the way of the future. Note that this meat is not vegan since it comprises animal cells.
As technology progresses, the production cost of artificial meat is expected to decrease particularly in the case of large-scale production.
- Artificial meat does not require a lot of land or water and it also contributes less to pollution. Note that typical beef production emits significant amounts of methane, CO2, and nitrous oxide.
- Such meat is less likely to be contaminated with bacteria such as E. coli.
- It contains fewer antibiotics (today, antibiotics are frequently given to animals to keep them healthy which can lead to antibiotic resistance).
Aleph Farms from Israel is one of the companies that is working on the creation of artificial meat. It came up with the world’s first cell-based ribeye steak in February 2021, created with the help of cell cultivation and 3D bioprinting. One of the firm’s co-founders is Professor Shulamit Levenberg from the Technion Institute of Technology in Israel.
The biotech trends presented in this article are just the tip of the iceberg of all the trends that are to be followed in 2022 and the near future. Among others are tissue engineering (using biology and engineering to repair, preserve or enhance damaged tissues or organs), bioprinting (the use of 3D printers to create biological tissues, organs, and cells), and AI (helps, amongst others, to speed up the drug discovery procedure).
The early identification of new technologies to gain a competitive advantage today is a must. RightAngle can help you to obtain valuable insights from biotech experts. Contact us. We recruit specialists for each individual project and ensure that each of them is relevant and ready to provide the answers to all your questions.
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