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Future of Work

Is Bio-Tech the Next Big thing?

In the fight against Covid-19, healthcare has taken centerstage. As the world waits in lock-down, biopharmaceutical innovators race against time to find a vaccine and antivirals for Sars-Cov-2 genome. They are the new warriors the world is looking towards.

Biotech has immense scope in today’s world. Think of it not as a standalone field, but something that touches almost all aspects of our lives. It can be applied to a many sectors – from food processing, animal science and nutrition to pharmaceuticals, agriculture, healthcare, as well as environmental conservation.

What is Biotechnology?

Biotechnology is an interdisciplinary field that covers many areas, which include biology, engineering, physics, mathematics as well as chemistry. It’s really the focal point between these. Simply put – it is a technology that creates a product or a process using a living organism, or a component of it, or any other biological system. This is the simple definition. Biotechnology is actually a broad umbrella term that can mean anything from baking bread (which involves using yeast, a living organism) and reducing wastes to Gene therapy – a technique used to treat genetic disorders. Products developed using biotechnology help improve our lives and the health of our planet by modifying foodstuffs and medicines, reducing wastes and environmental impacts and creating renewable energy sources.

Real-time Relevance of Bio-Tech

The good news amidst these trying times is that biotech companies are responding faster than ever to emerging health threats. Here’s a snapshot, as per National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases:

Already a significant number of bio-tech firms have rolled up their sleeves to research and create a vaccine, including six Indian companies. Human trails are already underway for a Coronavirus vaccine in the United Kingdom, China and the United States.

Also, there’s a lot of work being done to find a preventive or a cure for the deadly virus. This further reinforces the critical role biotechnology plays in our lives. When they successfully develop a vaccine for Covid-19, biotechnology will become a key market contributor.

Biotechnology and the Global Market

According to Biotechnology Market Share, Size, Trends & Industry Analysis Report, the global biotechnology market size was valued at USD 449.06 billion in 2019. The report also stated that biotechnology applications in healthcare segment accounted for the largest share in the overall market. By 2026, the biotechnology market is estimated to reach revenue of $741.7bn.

This was pre-COVID, so the numbers could look different now. Although the need for Bio tech would only rise in a post-COVID world.  

The reasons behind this big boom can be attributed to a number of factors:

The increasing demand for new drug advancements, and demands in personalised medicines as chronic diseases are rising. The WHO had projected that chronic diseases would account for almost three-quarters of all deaths worldwide as such diseases were ‘expected to increase to 57% by 2020’; the current Covid19 challenge faced globally seems to be an accentuation of the severity of this projection. There is also the rising incidence of persistent conditions such as diabetes and cancer globally that cannot be ignored

The rise of agricultural biotechnology is another critical factor.   The spike in demand for agro-based products (i.e. for sustenance and horticulture items) and the growing need for biotech practices in technical research is expected to provide a big  push to the biotechnology market growth.

Then there’s also the perennial threat of more pandemics – as the current Covid19, and those in the past such as SARS, Ebola, H1N1 and MERS have proven. This reinforces the need for biotech companies to constantly be ahead of the curve in helping create an agile healthcare response, and be ready to take on future pandemics.

So, this brings us to our questionIs biotechnology the next big thing? Our answer is, yes, it is.

Whether it is DNA Sequencing or PCR technology, whether it is in Pharmaceuticals or Environmental Sciences, biotechnology touches a broad spectrum across various fields (in Fig 3: Major biotech fields, 2020)

Given its big reach, the industry is estimated to grow at a very high compounded annual rate, and the demand set to increase.

What are the work opportunities in Biotechnology?

A career in biotechnology is not just confined to lab coats and laboratories. It’s a diverse
field and so is its career path.

Some of the popular jobs in biotechnology include:

  • Biomedical Engineer
  • Biochemist
  • Process Development Scientist
  • Microbiologist
  • Business Development Manager
  • Product Strategist
  • Biomanufacturing Specialists
  • Bioinformatician
  • Biophysicist
  • Biotechnology Laboratory Technician
  • Clinical Research Associate
  • Environmental Engineer
  • Quality Control Analyst
  • Crime Lab Technician
  • Agriculture/Food Science Technician
  • Epidemiologists

All these point to the fact that biotechnology will continue to remain a critical part of the society as it will continue to be used toward the well-being of the society, to improve the quality of life and also to ensure a higher quality of life to our future generations.

If you have the inclination and bent of mind that leads you to a future in Biotech, you should consider it seriously. It has immense scope for employ-ability – now as well as in the future.

Date added
14.05.2020

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