Timeline of key events in biotechnology

Mouseover the event title for a more detailed description of the event (if available). To search for particular terms in the description of the event enter the term in the box below 'Event' on the table and press 'enter'. Alternatively use the dropdown lists to filter by Person, Place or Science. Click here to clear the filter.

Known as 'whole exome sequencing', the test makes it possible to scan for around 20,000 human genes in just 27 hours rather than 10 days as was the case previously. The test was developed by South West Genomic Laboratory Hub and enable quick diagnoses of approximately 5,000 rare conditions like cystic fibrosis. 2019-10-01T00:00:00+0000The advantage of the technique is it enables scientists to disable specific genes and correct harmful mutations by providing cells with fresh DNA strands with to repair the cut. Unlike Crispr-Cas9, which chops target DNA in half, prime editing nicks it and then writes a new section of DNA into the specified region. The new procedure was published in AW Anzalone et al, 'Search-and-replace genome editing without double-strand breaks or donor DNA', Nature (2019), https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-019-1711-42019-10-21T00:00:00+0000Developed by Biogen, the drug, aducanumab, targets a protein called amyloid that forms abnormal deposits in the brains of people with Alzheimer's. The company originally discontinued work on the drug in March 2019 after disappointing trial results. 2019-10-22T00:00:00+0000The drug, crizanlizumab, specifically inhibits selectin, a substance that contributes to cells sticking together and causes vaso-occlusive crisis, an extremely painful condition that is frequently a reason for patients to visit emergency departments. 2019-11-15T00:00:00+00002019-12-01T00:00:00+0000The drug is enfortumab vedotin-ejfv, an antibody drug conjugate. It was given accelerated approval for adult patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial cancer who failed to respond to PD1 immune checkpoint therapy or platinum-containing chemotherapy. 2019-12-18T00:00:00+00002019-12-23T00:00:00+0000He Jiankui, who used the gene-editing technology to make twin babies immune to HIV by altering gene CCR5, was sentenced to three years in prison by a Chinese court and fined around $430,000. 2019-12-30T00:00:00+0000Wenliang reported the suspected disease to a closed group on WeChat social media platform after he saw seven patients with SARS-like symptoms at Wuhan Central Hospital where he worked. He blew the whistle after learning the patients were being quarantined. Days after raising the alarm, Wenliang was detained by Chinese authorities for 'spreading rumours' and made to sign a statement which forced him to stop publicly talking about the disease otherwise he would face legal punishment. He was one of eight people detained for speaking out. 2019-12-30T00:00:00+0000Several of the people infected worked at the city's Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market. The pneumonia was thought to be caused by an unknown virus. 2019-12-31T00:00:00+00002020-01-01T00:00:00+0000The application was for use of tucatinib, in combination with trastuzumab and capecitabine, for the treatment of adult patients with locally advanced unresectable or metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer, including patients with brain metastases, who have received at least two prior anti-HER2 treatment.2020-01-01T00:00:00+0000Officials were alarmed because more than 40 people were already infected and the number was rising. 2020-01-01T00:00:00+0000The original SARS outbreak started in China and killed more than 770 people around the world between 2002 and 2003.2020-01-05T00:00:00+0000The virus was found to belong to the coronavirus family, a virus that causes the common cold and was associated with SARS.2020-01-07T00:00:00+0000The person who died was a 61 year old man who had bought good from Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market. He had failed to respond to treatment after he was admitted to hospital. He died of heart failure.2020-01-09T00:00:00+0000It related to the 61 year old man who died on January 9 2020. 2020-01-11T00:00:00+0000The case was a woman who had visited Wuhan in China. 2020-01-13T00:00:00+0000The man had visited Wuhan. 2020-01-16T00:00:00+00002020-01-17T00:00:00+0000
Date Event People Places Sciences
Oct 2019NHS introduced new fast-track DNA test to scan for rare diseases in babies and children South West Genomic Laboratory HubDNA Sequencing, Genomics, Genetics
21 Oct 2019New DNA editing technique called 'prime editing' publishedAnzalone, Randolph, Davis, Sousa, Koblan, Levy, Chen, Wilson, Newby, Ranguram, LiuMassachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard UniversityCrispr-Cas9, Gene editing,
22 Oct 2019Monoclonal drug originally dismissed for treating Alzheimers got new green light from FDA for testing for the disease BiogenMonoclonal antibodies
15 Nov 2019FDA approved first monoclonal antibody drug to help treat painful complications associated with sickle-cell disease NovartisMonoclonal antibodies
Dec 2019Oxford Nanopore Technology's sequencing technology chosen for a population genome genomics programme for the first time (Abu Dhabi Genome Programme) Oxford Nanopore TechnologyNanopore sequencing
18 Dec 2019FDA granted accelerated approval for Seattle Genetics drug for advanced urothelial cancer Seattle GeneticsMonoclonal antibodies, Oncology
23 Dec 2019Seattle Genetics submitted New Drug Application to FDA for testing tucatinib in patients with locally advanced or metatastic HER2-positive breast cancer Seattle GeneticsOncology
30 Dec 2019Chinese scientist convicted for using CRISPR-Cas9 in human babiesJiankuiSouthern University of Science and Technology of ChinaCrispr-Cas9, Gene editing,
30 Dec 2019Li Wenliang, a doctor working in Wuhan, China, warned fellow doctors of a possible outbreak of a new disease resembling severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)Li WenliangWuhan Central Hospital Covid-19
31 Dec 2019China alerted WHO of several unusual cases of pneumonia in Wuhan  Covid-19
Jan 2020Nanopore sequencers begin to be used with ARCTIC protocol to decode the SARS-Cov2 to help combat COVID-19 pandemicLomanOxford Nanopore Technology, ARTIC NetworkNanopore sequencing
Jan 2020Seattle Genetics submitted marketing application for tucatinib to the European Medicines Agency Seattle GeneticsOncology
1 Jan 2020Wuhan shut down its Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market after several of its workers came down with a strange form of pneumonia  Covid-19
5 Jan 2020Chinese officials ruled out the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) virus, seen in 2002-2003, was the cause of the new pneumonia outbreak  Covid-19
7 Jan 2020WHO announced that Chinese officials had identified a new virus (2019-nCoV) linked to the outbreak of unusual pneumonia  Covid-19
9 Jan 2020The first person died in Wuhan from symptoms related to Covid-19  Covid-19
11 Jan 2020China officially announced its first Covid-19 death  Covid-19
13 Jan 2020WHO reported the first case of Covid-19 in Thailand - the first one outside China   Covid-19
16 Jan 2020Japan Ministry of Health reported a confirmed Covid-19 case   Covid-19
17 Jan 2020Second Covid-19 death reported in Wuhan, China  Covid-19

Oct 2019

NHS introduced new fast-track DNA test to scan for rare diseases in babies and children

21 Oct 2019

New DNA editing technique called 'prime editing' published

22 Oct 2019

Monoclonal drug originally dismissed for treating Alzheimers got new green light from FDA for testing for the disease

15 Nov 2019

FDA approved first monoclonal antibody drug to help treat painful complications associated with sickle-cell disease

Dec 2019

Oxford Nanopore Technology's sequencing technology chosen for a population genome genomics programme for the first time (Abu Dhabi Genome Programme)

18 Dec 2019

FDA granted accelerated approval for Seattle Genetics drug for advanced urothelial cancer

23 Dec 2019

Seattle Genetics submitted New Drug Application to FDA for testing tucatinib in patients with locally advanced or metatastic HER2-positive breast cancer

30 Dec 2019

Chinese scientist convicted for using CRISPR-Cas9 in human babies

30 Dec 2019

Li Wenliang, a doctor working in Wuhan, China, warned fellow doctors of a possible outbreak of a new disease resembling severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)

31 Dec 2019

China alerted WHO of several unusual cases of pneumonia in Wuhan

Jan 2020

Nanopore sequencers begin to be used with ARCTIC protocol to decode the SARS-Cov2 to help combat COVID-19 pandemic

Jan 2020

Seattle Genetics submitted marketing application for tucatinib to the European Medicines Agency

1 Jan 2020

Wuhan shut down its Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market after several of its workers came down with a strange form of pneumonia

5 Jan 2020

Chinese officials ruled out the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) virus, seen in 2002-2003, was the cause of the new pneumonia outbreak

7 Jan 2020

WHO announced that Chinese officials had identified a new virus (2019-nCoV) linked to the outbreak of unusual pneumonia

9 Jan 2020

The first person died in Wuhan from symptoms related to Covid-19

11 Jan 2020

China officially announced its first Covid-19 death

13 Jan 2020

WHO reported the first case of Covid-19 in Thailand - the first one outside China

16 Jan 2020

Japan Ministry of Health reported a confirmed Covid-19 case

17 Jan 2020

Second Covid-19 death reported in Wuhan, China

Respond to or comment on this page on our feeds on Facebook, Instagram, Mastodon or Twitter.