It’s no secret that our modern society has progressed exponentially over the past hundred years. From the way we cultivate and harvest our crops to the way we treat patients in healthcare, we’ve made remarkable strides in changing how we approach the most basic principles of living in a technologically-driven society. However, while there are still a number of ways we can continue to improve our methodologies and techniques, it’s safe to admit that we’ve nonetheless made remarkable progress in recent years.
As we move deeper into the second decade of the twenty-first century, it’s becoming more and more evident that the emerging innovations in the realm of biotechnology are nothing short of revolutionary. With these biotech breakthroughs propelling us forward and forging the way for further developments across a wide spectrum of industries, it’s vital to take the time to recognize the triumphs that we’ve created thus far. In turn, we can use it as a catalyst to further promote advancements not only in biotechnology but also in the other avenues it can influence in the process.
Faster Vaccine Production
In the past, the development of new medications and vaccines could easily take up to ten years or longer to complete. From the original efforts put into actually creating and patenting it, to its approval of it from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), this was often a fairly lengthy and tedious process. These days, however, the amount of time needed to create a new vaccine has been sharply reduced – and it’s largely thanks to the efforts of medical researchers in the field of biotechnology.
Instead of necessitating extensive clinical trials for each stage of the development and review process, biotech data is now able to minimize this duration of time. Through this technology, simulations are able to generate real-time results of how a certain medication or treatment may interact with the human system. In turn, researchers are able to see surprisingly accurate outcomes of clinical trials, such as in the case of new cancer treatments and other chronic and serious conditions (like Alzheimer’s disease, for instance).
Customized Food Development
The question of food sustainability has been an ongoing one, as far back as Malthus, and it continues even today. While some may argue that the primary issue is interrupted supply chains, this doesn’t change the fact that there is a notable lack of resources available to those in need. Both domestically and abroad, people are going hungry, and finding a means to feed the nearly eight billion people on this planet remains of the utmost importance. Because of this, finding new ways to grow – and even manufacture – food is a cornerstone of many biotechnological experts.
Two ways this is now becoming possible are through tissue generation and agricultural engineering. Lab-grown meat can now be created, allowing for an analog that tastes and looks identical to its counterpart, yet all without needing to slaughter the animal in question. Derived from bovine muscle, it can help reduce carbon emissions and make quality protein available to the public. Similarly, creating crops with higher yields is also relevant. Resistant to bugs and disease, yet higher in vital micronutrients, these commodities can help prevent malnutrition, even in developed regions.
Trying to tailor medication to the patient has always been a challenge, and even modifying the dosage didn’t guarantee the desired result. Oftentimes, medications were tested on a predetermined demographic, overlooking the biodiversity within a stable population. However, today’s genomics now allows for precise customization of medications for patients, formulated exactly for their unique genetic code. This advanced interpretation of DNA can help prevent complications from arising, allowing for more effective treatment options.
This technology has also made it possible for biopharmaceuticals to be created with better accuracy. While trying to create medications with every patient in mind comes with its own subset of complications, manipulating certain cultures can help accelerate the production of new treatments. Overseeing the exact protein expression in microbial systems – and allowing for the automation of cloning various fungi, bacteria, and viruses – can help reduce the wait time when designing new medications. In turn, drug development is facilitated and patients can receive the care they deserve in a timely manner.
As it stands, we’ve made considerable progress in nearly every avenue of biotechnology. No doubt, the production of more sustainable resources for the entire population, a streamlined process for creating new medications, and a personalized approach for patients can help ensure better health outcomes. While there is certainly significant work that needs to be done to help verify that we are all living our best, healthiest lives, we still have biotechnology to thank for our current health status and overall well-being.