Top medical innovations to come in 2021, from coronavirus to brain surgery

The coronavirus pandemic brought on an unexpected whirlwind year in the health and medicine field, prompting new levels of global collaboration and urgency for innovation never seen before.
The new year will usher in even more developments, treatments, procedures, drugs and breakthroughs. The first beginning with putting an end to the pandemic.
The top medical innovation of 2021 will be the continued rollout of coronavirus vaccines and their ultimate impact on the pandemic and on the health of patients. Two vaccines, one by Pfizer and one by Moderna, have mRNA technology that has never before been authorized for widespread use in the United States. The success of these vaccines will pave the way for more mRNA technology to come.
Antiviral drugs for COVID-19 will come into the spotlight in what could be like a Tamiflu for the virus, according to Dr. Mark Poznansky, director of the Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center at Massachusetts General Hospital. Such a drug could reduce the duration and severity of the disease.
At-home coronavirus testing will become accessible and can provide more help in identifying and controlling outbreaks. The Food and Drug Administration authorized the first over-the-counter fully at-home test  just weeks ago.
Minimally invasive brain surgery:
Brain surgeries such as the procedure to treat hydrocephalus, which is fluid in the brain, are archaic and haven’t changed in 50 years, requiring doctors to shave a patient’s head and drill a hole in the skull, said Dr. Adel Malek, chief of neurovascular surgery and Dr. Carl Heilman, neurosurgeon-in-chief, both at Tufts Medical Center.
That could change in 2021 with its device called the eShunt, a tiny implant that travels from the groin to the brain and uses a valve to safely drain fluid into the veins.
“I think it has the potential to revolutionize what is a very painful procedure,” said Malek. He and Heilman said patients are already being screened for enrollment in the first in-human study which will start in 2021.
Novel ACL repair procedure:
The anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, a ligament often torn by athletes could never grow back together and required intense surgery — until now.
Boston Children’s Hospital Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Martha Murray developed a new technique called Bridge-Enhanced ACL Repair (BEAR), which uses a bio-engineered implant to serve as a bridging between the torn ligaments to stimulate healing.
Miach Orthopaedics, founded by Murray, just received first-of-its-kind Food and Drug Administration approval for the procedure.
Murray said people will have access to the procedure in 2021 and she hopes to continue improving it to the point it could be a day surgery that doesn’t even require opioids.
Expansion and advancement of telemedicine:
The pandemic turbo-charged the already-emerging shift to telemedicine, which is here to stay with expected expansions and advancements in 2021.
Patients and providers will see new and faster technology, including wearable devices, in telehealth that will be used not only for routine care, but for management of chronic conditions and mental health services.

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