Fitterfly, an India-based digital therapeutics company, has launched a digital recovery programme for diabetic patients who have contracted COVID-19.
WHAT IT DOES
The company has added in its Diabefly platform an integrated module called the Post COVID-19 Recovery programme. According to a press release, people can "take advantage of the programme from the comfort of their home via calls, chat, virtual group sessions and webinars".
The three-month programme covers online consultations with a psychologist and a physiotherapist and offers personalised nutrition plans geared towards diabetes control and immunity. It also offers group therapy and respiratory exercise sessions under expert guidance.
The programme also provides full access to the Fitterfly Wellness app and resources on COVID-19 and diabetes.
WHY IT MATTERS
According to the International Diabetes Federation, when people with diabetes develop a viral infection, treatment will be difficult "due to fluctuations in blood glucose levels and, possibly, the presence of diabetes complications".
In a statement, Fitterfly said diabetes does not only increase the risk of developing "serious" complications from COVID-19 but also slows down recovery from its effects. With more Indian citizens contracting the disease, the number of people that will require rehabilitation will also jump, it said.
"People with diabetes need special care post-COVID-19 to get their sugars under control faster as well as recover from the aftermath of COVID-19," said Dr Sanjay Kalra, former president of Endocrine Society of India, in the press release.
"The current healthcare system and doctors are burdened and cannot offer the all-around care which these people need. Digital therapeutic initiatives are welcome to help people recover faster and will go a long way," he added.
"People with post-COVID diabetes need help managing stress, fear and anxiety besides focusing on their glycemic control and lifestyle modifications. This needs a multidisciplinary planned approach that cannot be provided by a single doctor," Dr Tejal Lathia, a senior endocrinologist at Apollo Hospitals, also stated.
THE LARGER TREND
Last year, a research paper suggested the use of virtual reality in COVID-19 rehabilitation. Its authors said VR provides healthcare practitioners with the "means to administer fast, temporary and tailor-made rehabilitation services at a distance".
ON THE RECORD
"COVID[-19] has derailed glycemic control for people with diabetes and we are looking at a tsunami of new-onset diabetes as some of the people from the peak of the second wave of the pandemic go into the recovery phase. There is an urgent need to help these people. Else, they are at risk of fungal infections, damage to kidneys, eyes and nerves and would become a difficult issue for their families," said Dr Arbinder Singal, co-founder and CEO of Fitterfly.