Over the last couple of years, the global healthcare industry has gone through one of its most innovative periods. It went from discovering and analyzing the COVID-19 virus to developing and launching vaccines in record time.
Healthcare companies responded with astonishing speed to COVID-19. Instead of taking a decade to come to market, manufacturers were able to shift work over to virtual platforms by utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) and other digital technologies to launch ground-breaking vaccines in less than a year.
Despite the successful roll-out of vaccines, the coronavirus still dominates global headlines with the highly contagious Delta and Omicron variants overwhelming hospitals and resources.
More than 4.67 billion people—roughly 60.8% of the global population—have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. There is a divide between wealthier and poorer countries with regards to access.1
The U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America have vaccination rates of at least one dose of between 65% and 75%. In the Middle East, this number drops to 50%. The rate of vaccination is just 14% in Africa.
This low vaccination rate has hampered many countries’ ability to contain the pandemic. Deployment strategies even in first world countries are being hindered by vaccine hesitancy, scheduling, transportation, and inconvenient hours.2
Persisting Need for Healthcare Innovation
To maintain a competitive advantage in this ever-evolving environment and improve patient experiences, global healthcare companies must innovate, expand product lines, and address new trends.
Here are some of the biggest healthcare trends to watch out for in 2022:
- The harnessing of data analytics
- The evolution of clinical trials
- The development of a more reliable supply chain
The understanding of genetics and diseases is evolving at a record pace, thanks in large part to the development of data analytics. By using machine learning algorithms and AI to analyze data and tests, identify patterns, and track the effects of drugs throughout the development stages, healthcare companies can better predict how patients will respond to medication and improve the drug development and manufacturing process.
With the average cost of getting a new drug to market being $1.3 billion, data analytics could not only help get a drug to market sooner, but it could also allow healthcare companies to save billions of dollars over the long run.3
Healthcare Innovation Within the Healthcare Industry
Pfizer Inc., Continuing the Fight Against the Pandemic
Pfizer Inc. announced that the U.S. government has committed to purchasing an additional 10 million treatment courses of its COVID-19 oral therapy, PAXLOVID tablets. This is in addition to an initial order for 10 million treatment courses, bringing the total number to 20 million.4 PAXLOVID was recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use in mild to moderate COVID-19 in adults and pediatric patients 12 years of age and older weighing at least 40 kg. PAXLOVID is currently authorized for conditional or emergency use in several countries. In addition, Pfizer has submitted applications for regulatory approval to numerous regulatory agencies around the world.
Abbott Laboratories, Wearable Healthcare Technology
Abbott Laboratories announced at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that it is developing a new category of consumer wearables: Lingo.5 The biowearables are designed to track key signals in the body, including glucose, ketone, and lactate levels, to help people better understand their general health and take appropriate action. Abbott is designing Lingo to measure other biomarkers, including alcohol levels.
Stryker Corporation, Improving Efficiency in the Healthcare Industry
Stryker Corporation inked a definitive merger agreement to acquire Vocera Communications Inc for $2.97 billion.6 Vocera is a leading provider of clinical communications and workflow solutions. This emerging segment has significantly expanded throughout the pandemic. The company’s products help reduce cognitive overload for caregivers, increase operational efficiency, and enhance quality of care.
Investing in a Healthcare ETF
One way to simplify your investing in the cutting-edge healthcare industry is through an ETF. A healthcare ETF offers a diversified portfolio of holdings in healthcare stocks. ETFs ensure that your risk is diversified, but that you are still invested in blue-chip names that you trust.
Evolve Global Healthcare Enhanced Yield Fund (LIFE ETF) provides investors with exposure to twenty global blue-chip companies in the healthcare industry, with a covered call strategy that is actively managed to provide increased yield potential while helping mitigate risk. LIFE ETF is available in hedged, unhedged and USD classes, as well as mutual fund versions.
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- Holder, J., “Tracking Coronavirus Vaccinations Around the World,” The New York Times, January 11, 2022; https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/world/covid-vaccinations-tracker.html.
- Dhar, A., et al., “Can more US consumers be swayed to take the COVID-19 vaccine? Overcoming access, trust, hesitancy, and other barriers,” Deloitte, November 10, 2021; https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/insights/industry/health-care/vaccine-access-trust-barriers-to-vaccination.html.
- Gardner, J., “New estimate puts cost to develop a new drug at $1B, adding to long-running debate,” BioPharma Dive, March 3, 2020; https://www.biopharmadive.com/news/new-drug-cost-research-development-market-jama-study/573381/.
- “Pfizer to Provide U.S. Government with an Additional 10 Million Treatment Courses of its Oral Therapy to Help Combat COVID-19,” Pfizer Inc, January 4, 2022; https://www.pfizer.com/news/press-release/press-release-detail/pfizer-provide-us-government-additional-10-million.
- “Abbot Announces Future Of Biowearables At Consumer Electronics Show,” Abbott Laboratories, January 6, 2022; https://abbott.mediaroom.com/2022-01-06-Abbott-Announces-Future-of-Biowearables-at-Consumer-Electronics-Show.
- “Stryker announces definitive agreement to acquire Vocera Communications,” Stryker Corporation, January 6, 2022; https://investors.stryker.com/press-releases/news-details/2022/Stryker-announces-definitive-agreement-to-acquire-Vocera-Communications/default.aspx.