As we bring 2021 to a close, let’s look at innovations that improve the lives of those living with diabetes.

  • Affordable long-acting insulin. Semglee manufactured by Viatris is a biosimilar insulin that is medically identical to Lantus or glargine. Semglee is priced 65% lower than Lantus whether it is in a vial or pen. For more information, ask your pharmacist.
  • Health and fitness technology is growing exponentially. Detailed health data is becoming more available and accurate. Patient’s data can easily be monitored without a visit to their health care provider. In our office, we can see near real-time glucose data by connecting a device to a patient’s smartphone. This can be a glucose meter, continuous glucose sensor or insulin pump. The data is periodically monitored for red flags. This proactive can lower the risks of developing or worsening complications. Financial burden is lower on the patient as well as society with fewer hospitalizations. Ask your provider about remote patient monitoring.
  • A new medication to banish yeast infections, Brexafemme has been developed by Scynexis. It is the first antifungal in more than two decades. The two-tablet formulation starts working within a few days and remains in the person’s system for as long as two weeks to prevent a resurgence.
  • New COVID-19 vaccines, Spikevax developed by Moderna and Comirnaty developed by Pfizer were authorized for emergency use in 2021. They are the first mRNA vaccines and work by harnessing messenger RNA, the genetic bits of code that regulate cellular production of proteins. These proteins attach to immune cells, triggering antibody production that are activated upon exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
  • The first COVID-19 at-home test by Ellume gives results in 20 minutes. An app on your phone takes you through the step-by-step instructions. Results are read by the analyzer via Bluetooth. Ellume reports that the test identifies positive cases in 95 percent of time and negative cases 97 percent of the time.
  • CRISPR gene editing tool developed by Intella Therapeutics and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals is showing positive outcomes in first phase clinical trials. The process involved injecting a patient with tweaked stem cells. The goal is to fix a defective gene that causes diseases such as sickle cell anemia and genetic liver diseases. While this is not currently a diabetes advancement, the future looks very promising.
  • Smart pacemakers are used to prevent or correct arrhythmias by delivering an electrical impulse to the chambers of the heart muscle allowing them to contract and pump blood to the body.    Technological advances now allow these devices to connect through a patient’s smartphone with near real-time data.
  • Telehealth is on the rise since the COVID-19 pandemic which has allowed safe and convenient healthcare visits online.  Regulatory barriers at the state and federal level were lifted during the Public Health Emergency status.  Some of these with revert to prior restrictions in 2022.

Managing diabetes is a difficult task but the many advances in healthcare continues to ease the burden. Looking forward to see what 2022 bring!

Dr. Julie Wood is a Nurse Practitioner and has been serving the Middle Tennessee area for more than 30 years, specializing in adults with obesity, prediabetes and diabetes. Office is located at 401 First Avenue, Mt. Pleasant, TN and statewide with telehealth. Dr. Wood can be reached at 931-325-5560,,  

Articles are meant to be informative and should never replace the advice of your health care provider.