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Mapping the global molecular diagnostics industry for COVID-19 tests

Credit: MAURO UJETTO, Shutterstock

Together with measures like social distancing and self-isolation, quality testing is an essential part of efforts to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. With testing strategies adopted by different countries under intense scrutiny, it’s also crucial to analyse the global molecular diagnostics industry and the changing regulatory landscape.

Enter the EU-funded CANCERSCREEN project that has built a comprehensive global data set of over 800 companies in this field, including more than 300 firms producing/developing tests for COVID-19. The companies in the database are based primarily in Europe, North America and Asia Pacific. The data includes information on the size, location, ownership, and technological and clinical focus of these companies.

As noted in a blog related to the database, the global molecular diagnostics industry has three main clinical markets. Their tests focus on different issues, where “genetic disease testing involves looking at what is called germline DNA—the genes that the individual inherits from their parents; cancer genomics generally involves looking at what is called somatic DNA—the genetic make-up of the cancer tumor (but sometimes it also involves testing the patient’s germline DNA); infectious disease testing involves identifying an infection by looking at the DNA of the invective agent (mostly a virus).”

Asia Pacific leading

In a European Research Council news item, Dr. Stuart Hogarth from CANCERSCREEN project host the University of Cambridge summarizes the trends in the development and commercialization of COVID-19 tests. “Asia Pacific has more molecular diagnostics firms (40 % of all firms) than either U.S. (29 %) or Europe (28 %), but the region is even more dominant in the COVID-19 market, with 55 % of all firms.”

He says that the Asia Pacific countries’ dominance is also observed in the number of firms with a test on the market. “In Asia Pacific 90 % of

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Osteoarthritis | National Institute on Aging

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis among older people, and it is one of the most frequent causes of physical disability among older adults.

The disease affects both men and women. Before age 45, osteoarthritis is more common in men than in women. After age 45, osteoarthritis is more common in women.

Osteoarthritis occurs when cartilage, the tissue that cushions the ends of the bones within the joints, breaks down and wears away. In some cases, all of the cartilage may wear away, leaving bones that rub up against each other.

Symptoms of Osteoarthritis

Symptoms range from stiffness and mild pain that comes and goes to severe joint pain. Common signs include joint pain, swelling, and tenderness; stiffness after getting out of bed; and a crunching feeling or sound of bone rubbing on bone. Not everyone with osteoarthritis feels pain.

Osteoarthritis most commonly affects the hands, lower back, neck, and weight-bearing joints such as knees, hips, and feet. Osteoarthritis affects just joints, not internal organs.

Hands

Osteoarthritis of the hands seems to run in families. If your mother or grandmother has or had osteoarthritis in their hands, you’re at greater-than-average risk of having it, too. Women are more likely than men to have osteoarthritis in the hands. For most women, it develops after menopause.

When osteoarthritis involves the hands, small, bony knobs may appear on the end joints (those closest to the nails) of the fingers. They are called Heberden’s (HEBerr-denz) nodes. Similar knobs, called Bouchard’s (boo-SHARDZ) nodes, can appear on the middle joints of the fingers. Fingers can become enlarged and gnarled, and they may ache or be stiff and numb. The base of the thumb joint also is commonly affected by osteoarthritis.

Knees

The knees are among the joints most commonly affected by osteoarthritis.