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COVID-19 Vaccine, Test Kits Among TIME’s Best Inventions of 2021

By Miriam Bello | Wed, 11/17/2021 - 13:30

COVID-19 vaccines and testing kits stand out in TIME’s "The best 100 inventions of 2021,” which also includes watershed inventions such as a radon detector, an air purifier and telemedicine solutions.

Among this year’s inventions, products to fight the global pandemic stood out in TIME’s list, especially the COVID-19 vaccine. To date, there are eight WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccines. Their development was a breath of hope to almost the entire world and so far, they have reached millions and reduced deaths and infections considerably. Pfizer’s vaccine, the first to be available worldwide, reduced COVID-19 mortality rates from 11.1 deaths per 1,000 people per year to 3.5 deaths per 1,000 vaccinated after two doses. “Getting the COVID-19 vaccine in record time is an example and we will continue to provide new therapies that improve health and quality of life or provide hope for diseases that currently do not have a cure,” told Constanza Losada, President and Country Manager, Pfizer to Mexico Business News.

Other solutions to fight the COVID-19 pandemic also made the list, such as COVID-19 home testing kits, which have been developed by Abbott, Ellume and ACON, among others. In Mexico, these kits are being developed by startup Clinia. Its developer, Lab-U, offers users an opportunity to access an online laboratory that provides personalized service. Lab-U’s COVID-19 package includes a PCR test sample kit, biosafety material, UTM-Viral transport tube, nasopharyngeal swab and a guide for self-care sampling.

To order a sample kit at home, the user must complete an eligibility form since the tests currently prioritize those with symptoms or who have been exposed to the virus. If eligible, a patient will receive the kit at home and receive their results within 48 hours of sending the sample.

In non-COVID-19 inventions, TIME highlighted a HEPA filter to purify the air help users avoid airborne diseases and pollution called Mila and Abbott’s NeuroSphere Virtual Clinic. The latter is a telemedicine solution that allows physicians to talk to patients over a video app or chat setting. According to Abbott, this development can increase access to optimal treatment for patients suffering from chronic pain or movement disorders who do not live close to a care provider, have difficulty accessing care or are unable to go to the doctor. This tool was developed with Parkinson’s patients and those living with chronic pain and movement disorders in mind.

Mexico’s awareness of chronic pain and pain management is still low. The country must strive in educating its population to treat chronic pain, said Michael Barriga, General Manager and COO, Omron Healthcare.

TIME also highlighted “The Smart Radon Detector” EcoQube. Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, according to EPA, and is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year. About 2,900 of these deaths occur among people who have never smoked. EcoQube allows users to monitor their home’s radon levels on a companion app.

Other inventions included a malaria vaccine and a clock that can detect Alzheimer’s.

Photo by:   Diego PH on Unsplash
Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Journalist and Industry Analyst