The life sciences are essential for understanding human health and developing new treatments and drugs that improve our quality of life. Just one hundred years ago, our life expectancy was nearly twenty years lower than it is now. The last century of healthcare development was tremendous, with many different essential discoveries around the world in human health. Here’s a look at a few of the most critical events in the life sciences timeline and how they have helped us improve our healthcare industry.
The Beginning of Pharmaceuticals
Before 1909, there was no pharmaceutical industry because we did not have many successful drugs that could be mass-produced and sold effectively. In 1909, Paul Ehrlich developed the first pharmaceutical treatment when he accidentally discovered a cure for syphilis. Though this cure was not widely popularized due to the nature of the disease, it still helped countless people improve their quality of life and overcome a previously incurable sexually transmitted disease.
Insulin for Diabetes
The creation of insulin was groundbreaking in the history of life sciences. According to Avantor, “Diabetes was a disease previously regarded as incurable and untreatable.” Until in 1922, Frederick Banting was able to isolate the hormones from the area of the pancreas associated with the disease and developed a highly effective diabetes treatment called Insulin. This treatment was tested on dogs first, then refined and purified for human use, where it was immediately used to save dying children in diabetic comas. Today, millions of people rely on insulin and insulin pumps to overcome the challenges of diabetes.
Pharmaceutical advancements are essential for the evolution of our healthcare system. However, advances in other medical fields, such as medical engineering, are equally critical to improving our quality of life and care. During the mid-1900s, medical engineering took off at a new level, starting with the creation of the cardiovascular pacemaker that did not require a hand crack in 1952 by Paul Zoll. Today, pacemakers are a standard medical device that many older adults and those with cardiovascular issues depend on.
The creation of the first blood bank in New York was the first effort to store blood at a large scale and long-term. The center not only collected blood but conducted research into how blood relates to disease and other illnesses. Today, the New York Blood Center is highly functional, collecting thousands of samples daily and impacting the lives of millions who need access to blood.
Successful Mapping of Human Genome
After nearly fifteen years of work, scientists could finally completely map the entire genetic blueprint of human DNA. The human genome project offers a 99% layout of the human genome and is highly accurate. This data has helped doctors and researchers not only understand the human body in a wholly new and detailed way, but this information is also super helpful when it comes to diagnostics and developing new medications. The use of genetics in healthcare is an essential part of modern care and treatment development. Today, doctors can use genetic information for various healthcare reasons and discover insightful health information from just your DNA.
mRNA Vaccines and the COVID Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic was a vast historical event on the timeline of life sciences. With modern tools like artificial intelligence, widespread access to smart devices, and substantial government spending, countries like the US were able to enter lockdowns and rapidly develop a vaccine for the virus. The use of mRNA technology was essential in the creation of COVID vaccines. Messenger RNA is used to introduce a piece of the virus to the body’s immune system to trigger a response that creates antibodies and fights the disease in the future. mRNA had previously been used to treat melanoma patients successfully, but it is also highly effective as a method of vaccine creation. Rapid Antigen Test Kits have also emerged as a powerful tool in the fight against COVID-19. This revolutionary system for testing enables people to receive results quickly and accurately, giving invaluable insight into the spread of the virus and effective treatments. In addition, the kits are easy to use, reliable, and cost-effective, making them ideally suited for everyday coronavirus testing needs. As a result, rapid antigen test kits have become an essential part of the global strategy to reduce its spread as more countries look to contain the virus. Their fast results enable health officials to take control swiftly while allowing individuals to take appropriate measures if they test positive. Thanks to this unique testing method, containing the crisis has become more manageable than ever before.
The history of life sciences can teach us a lot about our modern-day healthcare system and the options available for modern treatments. Having a good understanding of the history of life sciences can help you make more informed decisions about your healthcare.