#PositiveCorona: From treatment to prevention and early diagnosis – an inevitable paradigm shift in Pharma and healthcare sectors post COVID19 | Adamas University

#PositiveCorona: From treatment to prevention and early diagnosis – an inevitable paradigm shift in Pharma and healthcare sectors post COVID19

Adamas University Covid-19, Healthcare, Pharmacy

#PositiveCorona: From treatment to prevention and early diagnosis – an inevitable paradigm shift in Pharma and healthcare sectors post COVID19

Issue: Today the world’s Pharma sector is at a crossroad. In a heavily volatile and disturbed Pharma market, characterized by changing attitudes of patients and layman, neither a mere adjustment in the current mindset of the Pharma giants nor an age old innovation practice are likely to prevent the inevitable decline of the traditional pharmaceutical business model.

Catalyzed by wide range of new, disruptive microbes, the pharmaceutical industry needs to reimagine its future.

By 2030, medical practitioners will be able to foretell the likelihood of a patient being diagnosed with a disease or a health condition, and the modus operandi shall shift from treatment of symptoms to prevention and complete cure, rather than providing momentary respite.

In the coming millennia, some conditions may well become an item of the past. For example, it has now become feasible to cure hepatitis C, which was formerly regarded as incurable. This has created a paradigm shift that has taken healthcare workers and patients by surprise.

This paradigm shift is driven by three underlying developments:

  • Groundbreaking new therapies
  • Advances in pharmaceutical technology
  • Consumerization of health through increased access to patient data.

Impact on key trends in Pharma sector post COVID:

The table enumerates the potential impact of selected trends across all therapeutic areas post COVID: Virology, oncology, neurology, dialectology and cardiology.

It is apparent that some pharmaceutical companies are starting to recognize the impact of the two major shifts:

  • Innovate or perish
  • To move towards prevention and early diagnosis rather than mere preventing and curing a disease.

These shifts will upset the conventional order but shall open the door to new competition which will force the Pharma giants to rethink “where to play and with whom to play”.

It will force the Pharma companies to go for collaborations and mutual partnerships with research labs. Among many odd fields, two new ‘playing fields’ will emerge in response to this current pandemic situation:

  • Integrating innovation with traditional practice.
  • Adopting Gene manipulation for prevention.

Innovation in Pharma technology

An increasing number of pharmaceutical companies and, in fact, medical device companies are forming partnerships and integrating with technology companies.

In an attempt to combat the huge and growing plague of the COVID-19 pandemic, Google and Apple have jointly undertaken an effort to bring bluetooth technology to reduce the spread of the virus, with privacy and security features. Its prime objective is to protect the population and get the society back up and running again. Various software developers are contributing by innovating medical devices and technical tools to help combat the COVID 19 virus and save lives. There is some early evidence of collaborations in Pharma field as well. In 2016, Sanofi and Verily, the life sciences unit of Google parent Alphabet, declared in September 2016 that they would put in approximately US$500 million in a joint venture to manufacture medical and diagnostic devices, software and medicines.[1]

A smart contact lens, co-developed by Verily Life Science (a subsidiary of Alphabet), and Novartis, measures glucose levels in the wearer’s tears and can transmit data to a wireless device. The lens is expected to be ready for human trials by the end of this decade.[2]

Gene manipulation for prevention

To quickly generate a potential vaccine against COVID-19, researchers are using genetic engineering tools instead of conventional methods, which can take years and are too slow to fight a virus that has already spread to a pandemic proportion.

Instead Pharma and research labs are eyeing on gene-based vaccines. Scientists utilize information from the virus genome to create a blueprint of some selected antigens. The blueprint consists of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) or RNA (Ribonucleic acid) that holds genetic information on the virus.

The researchers then infuse the DNA or RNA into human cells. The cell’s machinery uses these instructions to make virus antigens against which our immune system reacts to.

Biomedical engineers at Stanford University were researching on a system to fight the flu with the gene-editing technology CRISPR when the COVID-19 pandemic emerged in Dec 2019.

So they quickly diverted there line of thought towards COVID19 to address the new disease—and now they’re postulating that they’ve developed a way to inhibit 90% of the virus, including SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19.

Conclusion: There are lessons to be learned from all pandemics and Covid-19 is no exception. There is an undeniable need for a more resilient healthcare infrastructure, as well as a severe surveillance system, patient data collection and early warning systems.

Innovative R&D systems for cutting edge research and speedy sample analysis using the latest artificial intelligence tools coupled with low cost innovation are the keys to overcome the current COVID 19 pandemic.


  1. Sanofi, Google parent form $500 million diabetes joint venture, Reuters, 12 Sept 2016.
  2. Google and Novartis to develop ‘smart’ contact lens for diabetics,Financial Times, 15 July 2014.

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