Abbott's FreeStyle Libre 14-day CGM system available in US hospitals during COVID-19 pandemic

Abbott announced Wednesday that its FreeStyle Libre 14-day continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system can now be used in hospitals to help with the care of COVID-19 patients with diabetes during the pandemic, according to the FDA. Specifically, Abbott said the system, which was approved in the US in 2018, will allow frontline healthcare workers to remotely monitor in-patients with diabetes by assessing real-time glucose levels and glucose history.

Jared Watkin, Abbott's senior vice president of diabetes care, remarked that "we appreciate the FDA's quick action to make medical products available during this public health crisis." He added that "by working with our partners at the American Diabetes Association [ADA] to arm frontline healthcare workers with FreeStyle Libre technology, Abbott will enable them to protect and monitor their patients with diabetes, limit COVID-19 exposure and also manage the influx of critical care needs." 

Citing the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Abbott noted that more than 50% of patients with diabetes who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 are hospitalised. The company said it will donate 25,000 FreeStyle Libre 14-day sensors in partnership with the ADA, Insulin for Life USA and the Diabetes Disaster Response Coalition.

According to Abbott, the FreeStyle Libre 14-day sensor, which is worn on the back of the upper arm, requires a one-second scan using a reader or smartphone to provide "real-time glucose readings every minute, historical trends and patterns and arrows showing where glucose levels are going without having to fingerstick." In addition, physicians can receive real-time glucose data and actionable information through the LibreView cloud-based diabetes management system.

Abbott also pointed to recent studies demonstrating that FreeStyle Libre led to better glucose control, decreased time in hyperglycaemia and hypoglycaemia, as well as reduced hospitalisations and HbA1c levels. The FreeStyle Libre portfolio is available in 46 countries, including in Europe and the US. Meanwhile, the next-generation FreeStyle Libre 2 system was approved in Europe in 2018 and is still under review by the FDA.

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