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How Bioinformatics has adapted to COVID-19 Pandemic

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by Charlotte Gurney

The Bioinformatics market has been a vibrant place for some time – even in 2017 it generated $6,389 million on a global level. Forecasts for the next decade were positive with predictions that this sector would grow at a CAGR of 13.8% from 2018 to 2025. And that was before COVID-19, which has shone a spotlight on this industry and the contribution that is has to offer when it comes to putting the breaks on the pandemic.

Bioinformatics – Overview

The Bioinformatics sector is one that focuses on using a combination of biology and information technology. At the heart of the industry is biological data, which is analysed and transformed using IT techniques. Bioinformatics has always had huge potential when it comes to providing essential support to many areas of scientific research. The tools that Bioinformatics can provide allow scientists to get to grips with larger data sets and to mine and analyse them to discover crucial information that could lead to key discoveries. Genetics and genomes have been the primary focus of Bioinformatics in recent years, including comparative genomics, DNA microarrays and functional genomics. Growing demand for nucleic acid & protein sequencing, as well as integrated data, has driven the growth of the Bioinformatics market up to now.

How is the market divided?

The current Bioinformatics market can be broken down into a number of segments, key among them being knowledge management tools, bioinformatics platforms, and bioinformatics services. Bioinformatics platforms has been the largest revenue driver in recent years and continues to take up a large proportion of the market – this is forecast to continue as a result of a rise in platform applications and the increasing need for improved tools in drug development.

COVID-19 and Bioinformatics

One of the major focus areas for every country as the COVID-19 pandemic has developed has been getting to the bottom of what the virus really looks like with a view to finding a way to halt its progress. Decoding the genome of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 that is responsible for the COVID-19 disease is crucial to being able to develop a vaccine and to better understanding how it works and why it affects human beings as it does. Various studies are now being undertaken, driven by Bioinformatics, with complex analysis of the genome sequence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus under way in order to try and identify which strains could be appropriate for testing vaccines. Bioinformatics has had a key role to play in enabling researchers to develop visualisation platforms that provide an opportunity to better understand the virus as it currently exists. This research will also be crucial for the future as COVID-19 evolves and starts to mutate.

Bioinformatics is a fascinating area and one that has particular relevance in the current climate where there is a race to try and be the first to create a viable COVID-19 vaccine. Even beyond the reach of the pandemic this is the market that is forecast to continue to grow at a blistering pace.

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