With the COVID-19 pandemic dragging toward a most unwelcome third year, it’s not surprising that the biomedical community has continued to focus on diagnosing and treating the disease. The list of this year’s Top 10 Innovations winners reflects these shared goals with a couple of products that can help researchers better understand the biological realities of SARS-CoV-2 infections, interrogating cells neighboring those infected with the virus, for example, and the immune system’s reaction to it over time.
But 2021’s innovation landscape also includes laboratory and clinical products that provide a more expansive view on biology. The winners of this year’s competition include an implantable miniscope that can track activity in the brains of freely moving organisms; a microfluidic device that aims to recapitulate whole-organism physiology; and a few products that build on the emerging trend toward characterizing individual cells, with the added components of spatial information or multi-omics.
Since the last installment of our Top 10 innovations, the world has witnessed the successful deployment of multiple COVID-19 vaccines, and those are, in their own right, truly awe-inspiring innovations. In a way, it’s heartening that scientific advances have continued to occur in spaces outside of the crucial coronavirus focus. It suggests that the global biomedical apparatus is robust enough to address a pressing and pointed concern while not losing ground in fields not directly related to that crisis.
Here are the breakthroughs and advances that, thanks to the careful consideration of our panel of independent judges, have won a spot in our annual Top 10 Innovations competition.
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