The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020 hit all industries by surprise and brought about the immediate need to assess processes and facilities for safety and continuity in determining how or if business could proceed. The pharmaceutical and medical device industries, essential to public health, were tasked with continuing existing studies and manufacturing while jumping into the fight against the novel virus. During this time of uncertainty and upheaval, these industries were challenged with protecting their own human resources while navigating changes in demand, supply shortages and disruptions, an adapting regulatory environment, and a shift to virtual interactions.
2020 Year in Review
In arguably the most challenging period in modern history, the pharmaceutical and medical device industries carried on in the face of disruption to personnel, supply chains, travel, and many more critical business areas due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The answer to the adversity was to push forward and continue serving employees, clients, and patients who depend on their products and services. Despite the mounting challenges, the pharmaceutical and medical device communities delivered much needed solutions, some even thought to be impossible, in 2020.
Despite Covid-19’s takeover as the leading focus and issue for 2020, progress marched onward and challenges were met with agility, innovation, and perseverance. 2020 witnessed breakthroughs in vaccine developments; fast, reliable, and extraordinarily cheap diagnostic tests; improvements in personal protective equipment (PPE); and better treatment options for challenges pre-dating the onset of the pandemic. While there are far too many new treatments and products that were introduced in 2020 to comprehensively list in this piece, here are some highlights from each of the categories:
In less than a year from the outbreak growing to pandemic status, two (2) Covid-19 vaccines were developed, tested, approved, and ready for distribution in the US with several other vaccine makers in tow with their trials for additional options.
Fast, Reliable, Cheap
Covid-19 Diagnostic Tests
With the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic came a great need for swift, economical diagnostics to aid in slowing the spread of the virus. Several IVD makers answered the call with tests that can yield answers within minutes and/or differentiate between Covid-19 and the common flu.
With skyrocketing demand and critically short supplies, innovations in PPE for front-line workers were desperately needed. Innovations brought forth have included reuse of, repurposing of, and improving upon existing materials.
Improved Treatment Options
for Multiple Conditions
Despite the Covid-19 pandemic garnering overwhelming focus, other health conditions persist and cannot be ignored even in the context of the new immediate threat. A diversity of conditions, such as diabetes, sleep apnea, multiple sclerosis, and even many types of cancers were addressed with new or improved options for treatment and management.