The world’s first drone delivery of insulin may be a useful model in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For people in rural, remote and isolated urban areas, using a drone to deliver much-needed insulin supplies is an option under consideration. A test flight in Ireland used a drone to deliver insulin as a response to people who were stranded without insulin during Hurricane Ophelia and the post-winter storm Emma when people were snowed in.
“Drone delivery has endless possibilities and can help us connect with our patient communities even in the most remote areas during sentinel events such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and pandemics, which have unfortunately become more common,” Spyridoula Maraka, MD, MS told Healio/Endo.
Though drone delivery has endless possibilities, there are also significant regulatory challenges with “aviation, medication dispensing, pharmaceutical dispensing, and cold chain protocols,” that had to be accounted for during this test run. Markara explains that through each phase of the mission, they had to have backup procedures in place.
Even with the obstacles for drone delivery of insulin or life-saving medications, this is an innovative and exciting prospect for people living in remote or isolated areas.
During the current pandemic, endocrinologists and care providers encourage people that use insulin to have enough stores at home for prolonged “Stay At Home” orders. As stated in our recent Question of the Week people with diabetes are not necessarily at increased risk for contracting COVID-19, but are at risk for experiencing worse outcomes and series complications from the virus (click here to review ADA’s Treatment & Care Factsheet). People living with diabetes may also experience a compromised immune system if blood glucose levels are running above target for a prolonged amount of time.
For these reasons, it is of utmost importance to have the necessary supplies and insulin one needs for optimal glucose levels during periods of crisis, like a pandemic.
Written by Catherine Cullinane RN, CDCES, our resident Tech Thursday Content Writer
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