The August 2020 Virtual International COVID-19 and Diabetes Summit brought a broad range of panelists and speakers together to discuss the current pandemic and its impact on glycemic management for patients living with diabetes. Representatives from Roche, Dexcom, Sanofi, and UBS came together to discuss the role of industry during this pandemic. This group represented COVID-19 testing, vaccine development, CGMs and the role of insulin management software.
How Glytec is Helping Customers During the Pandemic
I was grateful to speak on the work we are doing at Glytec to assist our customers in navigating the pandemic. Given the surges that hospitals faced or will face, Glytec made it easier to remotely expand or implement Glucommander, our insulin management software. Sites are also able to easily add Glucommander to any unit that may have become an ICU or locations that recently began utilizing IV insulin.
In addition, Glytec has devoted resources to better understand the challenges patients with hyperglycemia and COVID-19 face. We examined patients hospitalized with COVID-19 and noted that patients with stress hyperglycemia have an over 7-fold risk of dying in the hospital compared to patients with normoglycemia.
Sites have been challenged with managing IV insulin per best practice recommendations, given the needs to preserve PPE and minimize health care workers’ contacts with COVID-19 positive patients. Successful management of IV insulin requires hourly to every 2-hour blood glucose checks. Glytec worked with our sites to help learn lessons from other sites to safely navigate these challenges. We planned a collaborative with many of our sites that use Glucommander to share best practices, lessons learned and discuss the latest evidence around diabetes management and COVID-19.
In addition to bundling care and developing clear protocols for glycemic management, CGMs may have a role during this pandemic. The FDA non-objection to CGM has cleared the way for hospitals to trial CGM use, particularly for managing IV insulin, when patients may need up to 20 finger sticks per day.
Other Industry Contributions to Glycemic Management During COVID-19
Dexcom’s Senior Director of Medical Affairs, Daniel Chernavvsky, reviewed the role CGMs are playing during the pandemic. They have facilitated the use of CGMs in the hospital, with their Dexcom G6 CGM. The sensor is placed on the patient and a smartphone with the G6 app picks up the reading outside the room. Solutions allow for a centralized location for displaying the readings and apps for physicians to view the readings remotely.
Corinne Fantz, Director of Medical and Scientific Affairs-POC, from Roche, discussed testing for COVID-19, and the challenges since the start of the pandemic. She reported that a rapid antigen test is available that can report results within 15 minutes.
Rosalind Hollingsworth, The Global Medical Franchise Head for Influenza/RSV, from Sanofi Pasteur, discussed 2 approaches for a COVID-19 vaccine. One would use novel technology, an mRNA vaccine approach, that requires a new mode of producing vaccines. The other, a well-accepted method to produce viral antigens, is a recombinant vaccine approach, which can take advantage of existing large-scale manufacturing capacity. She highlighted the WHO’s list of 138 pre-clinical candidate vaccines and 30 clinical candidate vaccines. 6 of these are in Phase 3 trials.
It was a diverse panel, highlighting the ways different, interrelated industries are working to keep patients with diabetes safe and navigate providers’ way through this pandemic.