It is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken over our lives in the past year and has become one of the biggest stories in science and healthcare of the last decade. With a record number of more than 20 million cases at the point of writing, the novel coronavirus outbreak as toppled many healthcare systems struggling to keep up with the drastically rising number of cases each day. It has also taken a toll on the lack of healthcare resources and tested country leaders in their decisiveness to tackle the issue swiftly. Adopting the use of advanced technology has also been seen as a way out of this pandemic. In a bid to help quicken the pace of vaccine development or ease the strain on the growing demand for personal protection equipment, many governments and companies are looking to use technologies such as artificial intelligence and 3D printing in a range of applications.
This month on APBN we explore the use of 3D printing technology in healthcare and medicine as well as how the advancements and research in bioprinting technology will help bring medicine and healthcare to a new paradigm. (p. 22) We also interviewed Dr Sunpreet Singh a Research Fellow at the Department of Mechanical Engineering, National University of Singapore, working on the 3D printing of high-performance thermoplastics. (p.26)
For our columns section we keep the focus on the COVID-19 pandemic and bring you updates on the top 5 vaccine platforms currently being tested for potential use in a COVID-19 vaccine and its mechanisms. (p.14) We also assess the true environmental impact of the pandemic from reduced air pollution during lockdowns to the rise of “COVID waste”. (p.18)
This month we shine a spotlight on a recent study by researchers from SingHealth Polyclinics (SHP) and Duke-NUS Medical School. The team have developed a virtual reality tool to screen cognitive functions in elderly patients. (p.30)
The healthcare and medical industries are ever-evolving with changes in demands and surprises along the way such as increasing ageing populations and the recent COVID-19 global pandemic. These industries are not ones to shy away from technological advancements and innovations that will help shape the future of healthcare practices and medicine to achieve better patient outcomes.
Deborah Emmanuel Seah Qing En