Medical advancements are changing the way that even the most common health complications are being treated. Apart from understanding diseases, there is an increased understanding of how the human body functions, enabling the use of organic and healthy products to improve health. Albumin is one such example, a material that is synthesized from humans and used in medical treatment for various conditions.
What Is Human Albumin?
The blood that courses through the arteries and veins of humans contains 55 percent of plasma, of which albumin is the chief protein, making up around 60 percent of the total protein value in blood. Human albumin serves several important functions as the main protein in blood plasma, including the transport of essential materials such as hormones, vitamins, drugs, and substances by binding to the substances. Albumin maintains the liquid pressure in blood vessels, regulating the overall blood volume.
Low human albumin levels can indicate severe health issues including malnutrition, infection, kidney disease, liver disease, thyroid disease, and inflammatory bowel disease, as the required nutrients and hormones would not be reaching the required organs. On the other hand, higher than normal levels of albumin can indicate dehydration or severe diarrhea. The development of human albumin injections, made by synthesizing albumin from the blood of humans, marked a great advancement, enabling external injection of albumin when required.
Human albumin is used to treat low levels of albumin caused by insufficient production by the body, the excessive breakdown of existing albumin, loss of albumin or redistribution of albumin. These conditions can be caused by malnutrition, injuries, burns, infections, pancreatitis, bleeding, major surgery, inflammatory issues, and excessive kidney excretion. Albumin is also used to treat severe blood loss, protein loss, and shock.
Rising Trends In The Albumin Market
The global albumin market size is estimated to reach approximately 1,260 MT (Metric Tons) by 2020, with a higher growth rate of 8 percent in emerging countries, compared to 3 percent CAGR in markets in Europe and North America in the same period.
- Regional Dynamics: At a regional level, the major consumer of albumin is Italy, followed by the U.S. and China. The consumption of albumin is low in emerging countries such as India, due to lack of processing facilities, affordability of products and lack of access to adequate healthcare.
- Validity: Human albumin, when processed and stored correctly, has a shelf life of nearly 3 years, while blood has an expiration date of 21 days from the date of collection. In many instances of blood loss, albumin is also effective and is more easily available as compared to blood.
- Wider Applications: From the time of the identification and synthesis of human albumin, the applications of this plasma have increased multi-fold as more benefits and uses are identified through research. The use of albumin in the place of blood in many instances has been a revolution in the medical field, and more research and study is underway that will likely identify more applications of albumin.
- Refined Production Methods: The preparation process of albumin has undergone considerable revision and refining, replacing less pure preparation methods like plasma protein fraction with purer preparation methods that are associated with lower adverse reactions. This improvement in the quality of albumin has contributed to its extended use, especially in critical care situations.
- Concentration: Overall, administration of human albumin solution is considered to be well tolerated; however, studies have found that the percentage concentration of the albumin solution also influences the risk of adverse reactions. The 20 percent albumin solution has been found to have far fewer adverse reactions as compared to the 4.5 percent albumin solutions.
- Biotechnology: Advancements in biotechnology are having an impact on the albumin market as well, by influencing the modes of production, storage, and administration. Improvements in the technology of albumin are expected to increase its usability. With improved technology, emerging countries will have better access and production capabilities for albumin, while in developed countries, the administration process can be improved and the overall risk of complications can be reduced significantly.
- Top Suppliers: Thetop three manufacturers of albumin are CSL, Shire, and Grifols which together account for over 50 percent of the market. Other players include Shanghai Raas and Hualan Biologics that are based out of China, which is a major consumer and manufacturer of human albumin.
Human albumin has been used in medicine for more than 50 years as a therapeutic agent, and there are great benefits of its use, especially based on its role in helping people suffering from blood loss. Although in such situations, direct blood transfusions would be helpful, using albumin is more convenient, because of its long shelf life. Apart from blood loss, since albumin plays a vital role in the transport of hormones, medicine, and vitamins throughout the human body, a deficiency of albumin can cause significant damage and even death. Therefore, the technology of supplementing albumin content in the blood is a life-saver, and the market for albumin is expected to rise further.