The COVID 19 pandemic has certainly caused a lot of upheaval in the world in recent years, hasn’t it?
As it turns out, and possibly the most obvious, one of the industries most affected by the virus is life science.
Before COVID-19, life science was already quite a big deal.
In 2019, the global life sciences market was valued at $2.3 trillion. But with the onset of the pandemic, things really started to heat up.
Companies scrambled to develop vaccines, therapies, and tests to combat the virus, and the demand for life science products and services skyrocketed.
According to a report by Grand View Research, the global life sciences market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9.4% from 2023 to 2030. And a big reason for this growth is the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of certain life science technologies by several years.
For example, telemedicine was already on the rise before COVID-19, but the pandemic has really pushed it into the mainstream. According to a report by McKinsey & Company, telemedicine visits accounted for nearly 20% of all medical visits in the US in April 2020, up from just 1% in 2019.
Another area that has seen a big boost is the development of mRNA vaccines.
Before the pandemic, mRNA technology was still in the early stages of development. But with the urgent need for a COVID-19 vaccine, companies like Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech were able to develop and distribute mRNA vaccines in record time. And now, mRNA technology is being explored for use in a variety of other diseases, including cancer and HIV.
But it’s not all rainbows and unicorns in the world of life science.
The pandemic has also highlighted some of the industry’s weaknesses and shortcomings.
For example, the supply chain for life science products and services has been disrupted, leading to shortages of everything from PPE to critical drugs.
In the UK alone, according to surveys by the British Medical Association, the Royal College of Nursing, the Royal College of Physicians and Unison in April and May 2020 found that more than 30% of participating care workers, doctors and nurses reported having insufficient PPE, even in high-risk settings. You can see the full report by clicking here.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is estimated to have lost 75% of the £12 billion it invested in personal protective equipment (PPE) in the first year of the pandemic due to inflated costs and kits that failed to meet the necessary standards, £4 billion in PPE that will not be utilised in the NHS and must be disposed of.
In addition, the pandemic has shown that the life science industry has a long way to go in terms of diversity and inclusion.
A study published in the journal Nature found that less than 1% of clinical trials for COVID-19 treatments included Black participants, even though Black people have been disproportionately affected by the virus.
So, what’s the takeaway from all this?
Well, the life science industry has certainly been through the wringer over the past couple of years. But it’s also clear that the industry has the potential to make a real difference in the world. Whether it’s developing life-saving vaccines or pushing the boundaries of medical technology, the life science industry has a vital role to play in our society.
And hey, if we’ve learned anything from the past couple of years, it’s that we can’t predict the future.
Who knows what new challenges and opportunities the life science industry will face in the years to come? All we can do is buckle up and enjoy the ride. And maybe wear a mask while we’re at it.
If you are currently searching for your next position or are on the hunt for top life science talent to join your team, contact Focus on Life Science today.