London, England (CNN) -- No one doubts that the most high-profile health crisis of 2009 was the unexpected outbreak of H1N1 -- the swine flu virus that has claimed almost 10,000 lives, according to the World Health Organization.
The worldwide pandemic was on the front page of every major news outlet for months on end as people struggled to understand the impact of the first such flu outbreak in over 40 years.
Equally, the vaccine for swine flu, which came out a record five months after the first reported cases of the virulent virus in Mexico, has arguably been 2009's most far-reaching health breakthrough.
But this year has also seen other important health innovations, all of which we might have thought were impossible, or many more years away, a mere 12 months ago.
Some, such as the "Electric Eye," a microchip invented by university researchers that will help blind people regain partial eyesight, are still in the development stage.
Others, such as the $20 knee joint developed by a group of students at Stanford University, are in the early stages of production.
But all of them are products that could have very real and important benefits for the health of patients around the world.
Teo Kermeliotis contributed to this report