According to the latest data from IDF Diabetes Atlas, 463 million people suffer from diabetes worldwide. An estimated 232 million remain undiagnosed. The data is evident that diabetes will not wait for the coronavirus outbreak (SARS-CoV-2) to stabilise. At BIOTON S.A., we are well aware of this and therefore we remain committed to our patients, partners and employees to ensure the continuous supply of insulin, at the same time as introducing increasing safety precautions in our insulin production.

The Polish Society of Diabetology warns that in the case of COVID-19, the elderly and those with severe chronic diseases, including diabetes, run a greater risk of severe complications if they are infected with COVID-19. Therefore, it is important that patients – in addition to following the recommended safety and hygiene measures – carefully monitor their diabetes, and obey recommendations from their diabetologists. This will reduce the risk of a more severe course of infection, making it comparable to that observed in the general population.

A steady increase in the number of diabetes patients

The number of people suffering from diabetes is constantly on the rise, driven by complex interrelations between behavioural, genetic and socio-economic factors. Lifestyle changes, such as physical inactivity and a poor diet, with a high calorie intake, result in weight gain, and being overweight or obese puts people at an increased risk of diabetes.

The number of patients with diabetes is increasing sharply. According to estimates, there will be 417 million diagnosed cases by 2030, and 486 million by 2045. 136 million patients with diabetes are elderly (aged 65 or more), and this figure is likely to exceed 276 million by 2045. Diabetes is also increasingly diagnosed in children and young people under 20 years of age. Currently, there are 1.1 million patients in this age group.1

These figures highlight the importance of diabetes education and healthy lifestyle management to prevent the development of the disease.

The demand for insulin

As with any other infection, the new coronavirus presents an additional risk for the diabetic population, whose health is already compromised by the chronic illness. The infection can lead to poor metabolic control, and patients treated with insulin may need higher doses to manage their glucose levels. A failure to administer the right amount of insulin may cause hyperglycaemia, an excessive blood sugar level, and if it persists, carries the risk of complications, such as diabetic ketoacidosis.

Production of insulin must be continued

The coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) outbreak in Poland has forced us to impose stricter safety precautions to support the continuous production of insulin at BIOTON S.A. Any suspension in the process could risk supply availability to our patients. This elevates the risk of not achieving metabolic control, making patients more vulnerable to the virus.

We are concerned with our patients’ health. As a result, we have introduced strict rules which include a range of precautionary measures allowing us to work continuously, maintain high standards in production, which is so important to our patients.

1Source: IDF DIABETES ATLAS Ninth edition 2019