It would not be an exaggeration to state that the survival of the healthcare sector is not possible without the contributions of research, exploration, and scientific innovations. Thus research is an effective alternative to meet the demands of the continuously changing nature of the medical field.
Otherwise, dealing with complex healthcare issues would be nearly impossible. As such, the entire sector would have succumbed to multifaceted and evolving challenges like mutating pathogens, drug dependency, and drug resistance.
The medical field would not have achieved massive success in diagnosing, treating, and curing diseases without research efforts.
Most importantly, research drives continuity in treatment substitutes when existing approaches and medications slow down in delivering effectiveness. It is how scientific endeavors have enabled the development of precision medicines to cater to complicated diseases.
Nonetheless, development in medicine is a painstaking process of discovery, experimentation, testing, and trials.
Let’s unravel how research is helping untangle the complexities of the medical field and develop effective medications in the following paragraphs.
- Enhancing collaboration and utilizing diverse expertise
At present, the medical field cannot function as a standalone entity. Hence, collaboration with diverse specialties is inevitable. Such a collaboration is even more essential while carrying out research activities.
It is because research is a demanding, extensive, and time-consuming endeavor. It is why bioengineers, genetic engineers, virologists, environmentalists, and demographers collaborate in medicines manufacturing.
Thus prompt outcomes and breakthroughs in medicine development are only possible with diverse and constructive teamwork among several experts from various fields.
It is also why healthcare professionals are pursuing diverse qualifications, such as a masters in clinical research management which equips them with the fundamental skills needed to conduct exploratory and clinical research.
In addition, the degree also helps polish management and leadership skills to make more result-focused decisions.
Hence, clinical research experts can conduct and observe trials, analyze statistics, manage data, and utilize outcomes to solve prevalent healthcare problems.
The diversity of their expertise is particularly effective during medicine development phases. Their active participation identifies knowledge gaps and attracts relevant experts in the process of novelty.
- Examining and scrutinizing medical records
It means critically analyzing medicine development and effectiveness following the evolution and trend of a specific disease(s). The approach enables researchers to observe historical challenges and build upon learnings to manufacture effective medicines.
Specifically, records help them identify medicine development variables to cater to diseases.
Records also enable researchers to explore disease transmission mode, transition behavior, and potential targets. Such detailed observation is particularly crucial in finding cures for diseases exhibiting ancestral linkages and spreading similarly.
For instance, scientific studies suggest that the viral strain of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has genomic linkages to other respiratory syndrome viruses.
Former viral strains had emerged in confined parts of the world more than a decade ago. Their existing records enabled experts to prepare protecting measures for the general public, and that is how unprecedented antiviral vaccine development and global vaccination drives became possible.
Similarly, medical records also enable scientists to predict emerging diseases and adopt an effective mechanism for better preparedness. Thus in-depth examining and scrutinizing previous records are crucial in developing effective medications.
- Observing pathogens and their mutating behavior
Naturally, pathogens evolve from one host to another and over time. The process is called a mutation, which means changing forms. Mostly, targeting and hampering the functionality of an evolving pathogen using a single medicine is challenging. It is because pathogens learn and acquire protecting mechanics. As a result, they become persistent and survive in various hosts, conditions, and against different drugs.
For instance, moderate and humid atmospheric conditions favor the spread of the flu virus more than cold and drier seasons. It means the virus is more active during favorable environmental conditions, which facilitate its evolution and mutation.
That is why treatment also requires updating medicines to match with the transformation pace of the pathogen. Thus there are several antiviral versions to treat the flu infection.
In addition, medicine development also depends upon the targeted location and receptor of the pathogen. Some pathogens attack enzymes and proteins, while others dive deep into genetic coding.
For instance, target receptors of the flu virus are sialic acids in epithelial cells, which are part of the human respiratory tract.
Once a pathogen’s target and infection site are apparent, consumption of specific antiviral medicines impairs their functionality to reproduce and spread. Eventually, the drug’s impact and the immune system together overcome the remaining replicas of the virus.
- Exploring treatment alternatives
Most often, diseases progress to a point where targeted medicines lose their effectiveness. It is common in chronic ailments or impairments related to multiple organs. It is also the case when the infecting agents transform and adapt.
It is why experts utilize a combination of alternative medicines and treatment mechanisms to treat chronic and advanced-stage diseases like HIV/AIDS. Since the host body becomes vulnerable to repeated foreign attacks due to a compromised immune system, multi-organ complications emerge.
Unfortunately, there is not any universal remedy to treat such complications altogether. It is why doctors use problem-specific medications to treat HIV-induced complications.
Similarly, there is no single vaccine or drug for the treatment of the hepatitis C virus. In complicated cases, the infection coexists with HIV infection. Thus its treatment depends upon the disease complexity, genotype, and patient condition.
Chronic stage patients receive multiple antiviral medications, including emtricitabine, abacavir, tenofovir, and lamivudine. Though these medicines reverse the transcription mechanism of the viral DNA, several other alternatives have a different impacting mechanism.
Nonetheless, alternative treatment medicines and approaches have a significant contribution to treating transforming conditions. And identifying the effectiveness of variable options is only possible through continuous research and hit and trial efforts.
- Experimenting and testing
It is one of the unavoidable and vital steps in the process of developing better and effective medicines. Experimentation enables researchers to observe diseases specific changes on a cellular and genetic level.
It is also essential in recognizing explicit triggers for the onset of diseases. It is why the entire process from experimentation to medicine development is time taking.
First of all, scientists run and rerun several computer models. Outcomes enable them to identify the likelihood of success and effectiveness of newly developed medicines in humans. Only successful models proceed to the generation of medicine samples and experimentation on animal subjects.
Once the outcomes are promising, scientists extend their examination to a volunteer test group. Testing on humans enables them to examine the effectiveness of medicines or a cure procedure. Thus human testing is fundamental in identifying drug effectiveness, its side effects, and general applicability.
Afterward, scientists carry out tests on geographically dispersed population segments. Such widespread trials observe the efficiency of medicines under varying environmental and social conditions.
Once drugs pass through the final stage, they are ready for universal consumption. In contrast, drugs failing at any stage repeat the process while incorporating required alterations. Thus an extensively rigorous and equally expensive process produces effective medicines safe for human consumption.
Undeniably, research is the most crucial and inevitable part of the medicine development process. It is also an equally exhausting and demanding struggle, spanning countless trials and failures. However, investigative and exploratory efforts are the only solution to find effective and promising cures for emerging and mutating diseases.
Such efforts are the reason behind humanity’s continuous survival in a susceptible world full of countless hostile and life-threatening microscopic agents.