Microcephaly is a birth defect or a neurological condition where an infant’s head is smaller as compared to other babies of same age, sex, and ethnicity. This happens due to underdeveloped brain during pregnancy or restricted brain growth after birth. During pregnancy, a child’s brain develops and grows and as a result the head grows and increases in size; but in microcephaly, the size of the brain is smaller resulting in smaller head. Microcephaly can occur alone with no other defects associated with child birth or it can be in consortium with other major defects associated with child birth.
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Microcephaly can be congenital (present at birth) or acquired (develop postnatally). The severity of the condition ranges from mild to severe. People with this disorder have poor motor function, intellectual debility, abnormal facial features, poor speech, dwarfism, and seizures. The exact cause for microcephaly remains unknown, but the potential and common causes can be genetic or environmental factors. During pregnancy, microcephaly can also be caused by certain infections such as HIV or Zika virus infection, cytomegalovirus, herpes, rubella, syphilis, Campylobacter pylori, and toxoplasmosis (infection caused by a parasite present in undercooked meat). Maternal exposure to smoke, alcohol, drugs, radiations, or other toxic metals such as mercury and arsenic may also lead to microcephaly. Malnutrition is another potent cause for the disorder.
The global microcephaly market is driven by factors such as changing lifestyles and the trend of female smoking and alcohol consumption. Microcephaly is more prevalent in regions with a high prevalence of Zika virus infection. Hence, the rising number of pregnant women exposed to Zika virus infection and other infections contributes to the market growth. In addition, growing demand for the treatment of neurological disorders such as microcephaly, increasing awareness about microcephaly, and availability of therapies are expected to propel the global market growth during the forecast period.
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Drug manufacturers are increasingly focusing on innovative products with more efficacy. Therefore, increased research and pipeline drugs are anticipated to play a significant role in the growth of the market during the forecast period. The market is expected to witness key trends such as technologically advanced diagnostic methods, innovative therapeutics, and efficient management of infectious agents such as Zika virus to combat neurological disorders. However, lack of accurate treatment options is likely to restrain the market growth.
The global microcephaly market can be segmented based on diagnosis, end-user, and region. The diagnosis segment includes ultrasound test, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), head computed tomography (CT) scan, and other tests. In terms of end-user, the market can be segmented into hospitals, diagnostic centers, ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs), and others.
Geographically, the global microcephaly market can be segmented into five major regions: North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. Latin America dominates the global microcephaly market. A high number of cases have been reported from this region, especially Brazil, due to higher prevalence rate of Zika virus infection. North America accounts for the second highest market share. Europe is also witnessing market growth due to increased incidences of the disorder. This rise is primarily due to outbreak of Zika virus, exposure to other infections during pregnancy, alcohol consumption and smoking during pregnancy, industrialization, and innovative diagnostic and treatment options. However, major players operating in the market are struggling to find the treatment and cure for the disease.
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Key players operating in the global microcephaly market include Abbott Laboratories; Alere Inc.; Becton, Dickinson and Company; Beckman Coulter Inc.; bioMerieux SA; Bio-Rad Laboratories; Danaher Corporation; Hologic, Inc.; Inovio Pharmaceuticals; Lonza; MedMira Inc.; Merck KGaA; QIAGEN; Roche Molecular Systems Inc.; Siemens Healthcare; and Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc.