Abbott Freesstyle Libre


you can just use your smartphone. It also

means one less device to carry around.

Data on your mobile is also instantly

shareable -- you can email it to HCPs.,

etc. However your phone won't let you do

a blood test, whereas the current sensor

reader does. Also you can only read each

sensor with whatever reader you started

off with, you can only read a sensor with

the device you initiated the sensor with.

The phone will read through clothing, just

like the reader does."

What is of note with NFC technology

is that it requires very low power, so using

the new app won't drain a phone the way

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi both do. The phone

app includes data reports that were

created based on feedback from users.

Says Watkins, "These are the data reports

that people like to see and like to use.

They make the data accessible to them

and more understandable. The hope is

that the apps will be able to share data

with other diabetes devices too, such as

pump suppliers."

Catching a wave

So you know you're on to a winner, but

now you've got to supply demand. All

this development is wonderful, taking

research and imagination to bring about a

new product and prove that it works, but

it's another job entirely to take the device

out of R&D and into mass production.

It's been Scott House's job to make and

distribute the new Libre product. He

admits, "There has been limited availability

of the Libre. 'Why not make more?' is

what I've been constantly asked. But while

it is simple to use, it's very complex to

make. The demand and the acceptance

in the marketplace has been amazing, so

we've started to expand productivity. A

manufacturing area is being built which

is two-thirds the size of a football pitch,

so it's a big undertaking on all fronts. It's

highly automated and precise, with 'clean

room' technology and represents a huge

investment by Abbott."

House knew that it would probably

take two years to being the new

equipment to a mass-market, and his

focus has been on increased capacity.

Along the way, there have been things

that they have had to deal with as they

came along, such as some people have

skin reactions to the adhesive underneath

the sensors. Concerning this, Watkins

comments, "A certain percentage of the

population will react to any adhesive.

Another aspect of use that has been

established is that sensors do work over

tattoos, however they can be wiped if

you walk through certain scanners. As

it turned out, it was library scanners, of

all things, but that has now been fixed. It

warmed my heart to hear people were still

going to libraries. We have also found that

they are OK for use while swimming. You

can go down to a metre in depth, for up to

30 minutes, although we believe they can

do more, it's just that's all they've been

tested for so far, so it's all we can currently

claim. Abbott is also looking to generate

studies to show that you can use areas

of the body other than the upper arm,

which is the only place where sensors are

currently licensed to be used."

Libre for children

At the moment Abbott does not have

CE accreditation for Libre sensors to be

used in paediatric care, but the company

is working on getting the necessary trials

underway on children. Says Watkins,

"There's a big demand for paediatric

use, the prime reasons seems to be

because a parent can literally go in,

swipe the reader over the sensor without

waking the child up at nighttime to do a

blood test. It's going to be an absolutely

massive improvement for parents and

children alike once the CE accreditation

is granted.

Libre for everyone

Virtually everyone using the Libre sensor

array in the UK is self-funding. It was

built with affordability in mind. CGM as

a sector, and as a solution, has become

very niche because of the cost, so

while Libre is relatively affordable in an

expensive arena, the question remains

whether or not the cost will eventually

come down.

Starter pack £159.95

Reader £57.95

Sensor £57.95


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