Ninety-eight percent of veterans with Type 2 diabetes enrolled in Virta’s digital diabetes management program reduced or controlled their estimated HbA1c level after 90 days, according to new results from a pilot conducted by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Virta Health.
The pilot, which included a total of 104 patients, found that 84% of patients enrolled achieved an estimated HbA1c of under 6.5% or reduced theirs by 1% or more at day 90. According to the World Health Organization, an HbA1c of 6.5% is typically the cut-off point for diagnosing diabetes; however, the organization stresses that there are other factors to consider as well.
“Our results with the VA underscore the opportunity to reverse diabetes for millions of veterans,” Sami Inkinen, CEO and co-founder of Virta Health, said in a statement. “What’s exciting is that these health improvements, including eliminating the need for diabetes medications, align with the success we see with other populations and support the evidence that diabetes can be conquered globally.”
Since the pilot's launch in May, researchers noted that participants lost an average of 5% their body weight (13 pounds on average).
WHY IT MATTERS
Many veterans are living with diabetes. In fact, approximately 25% of the VA’s patient population is living with the disease. The condition is the No. 1 cause of kidney failure, lower-limb amputations and adult blindness, according to the CDC. However, diet, exercise and life style changes can help patients manage the condition.
These new results demonstrate that the majority of veterans in the study with Type 2 diabetes were able to bring their HbA1c to below the 6.5% threshold.
THE LARGER TREND
In 2018, Virta Health announced announced company will offer its service to employers and health plans at 100% risk — that is, customers will only pay if the company succeeds in its goal of reversing Type 2 diabetes and getting patients off of expensive diabetes medications.
Virta’s approach is different from other diabetes management companies because it combines a digital offering — with tracking, coaching and remote monitoring — with an entirely different treatment modality, a nutrition-based ketogenic diet.
The company also has a bucket of funding behind it. In 2018, it closed a $45 million Series B funding round. This added to the $37 million round, which launched the company.