‘We are not making wild claims about our treatment’
SAN FRANCISCO – The results from the first year of a clinical trial have shown that Virta Health’s technology-enabled approach can reverse Type 2 diabetes in a majority of patients.
One year in to the five-year study, 60% of enrolled patients reversed their diabetes, 94% reduced or eliminated insulin usage, and 83% remained active in the trial. Virta estimates that the medical and pharmaceutical cost savings total around $9,600 per patient.
“The key is having ongoing support and meeting people where they are,” said Dr. Jeff Stanley, a telemedicine physician with Virta Health. “Technology allows a longitudinal approach with patients.”
The Virta Health approach includes a health coach and physician who customize care plans for patients, helping them achieve and sustain nutritional ketosis, behavior change and goals. Patients regularly log biomarkers and feedback through a mobile app, and the remote care team monitors the data to personalize the care plan and adjust medications if necessary.
Patients also have access to support from an online social community.
“This is more than just an app or a diet,” said Stanley. “We want to teach people to fish, not just give them a fish.”
The trial was originally slated to run for two years, but the successful findings have caused Virta to expand it to five years. Stanley said they were confident the treatment would be a game-changer, but the rate of diabetes reversal was unexpected.
“A 60% reversal rate was surprising,” he said. “But the fact that the rate continued to grow over time was even more surprising.”
A recently announced $45 million in funding allows Virta Health to continue the study and invest in machine learning and artificial intelligence to provide technology tools for patients and providers.
“This trial shows we are not making wild claims about our treatment,” Stanley said. “We hope to improve on these results and treat our next patients better based on what we are learning.”