INDIA: 100 years to Insulin Discovery – Can we imagine today the life of a child with type 1 diabetes till about 100 years ago? Miserable with complications and early death. The discovery of Insulin and its first use on 11th January 1922 for Leonard Thompson in Canada changed the destiny of people with diabetes worldwide. The team of Banting, Best, Mcleod, and Collip were awarded for one of the most important medical discoveries in history.
Insulin is the hormone responsible for the conversion of sugar into energy and it is deficient completely in type 1 diabetes and deficient relatively in type 2 diabetes. Insulin has evolved over the last century from impure animal extracts to purified solutions, from commercial availability of human insulins to modified designer insulins to better control the highs and lows of blood sugars for people with both types 1 and type 2 diabetes. Insulin delivery has come a long way from reusable glass syringes and large needles to disposable syringes, pen devices with 4 mm needles, and insulin pumps for continuous insulin delivery. Today, Insulin is the elixir of life for millions of people with type 1 diabetes across the globe. Individuals with type 2 diabetes too require insulin along with their oral medications for short or long-term periods and help prevent the long-term complications of diabetes.
Dr. Vasant Kumar, President of RSSDI (Research Society of Study for Diabetes in India) says, “Insulin is the miracle medicine that saves the lives of millions of people with type 1 diabetes.” Even today many children with type 1 diabetes across India lose their lives or land up with hospitalization due to diabetic ketoacidosis as a consequence of stopping insulin due to non affordability, non-availability, or wrong negligent guidance by some.
Dr. Manoj Chawla & Dr. Purvi Chawla from Mumbai Diabetes Care Foundation (MDCF) believe in the need for appropriate training for correct insulin techniques and monitoring of blood sugar using various technologies. MDCF runs a regular training program for physicians and patients alike on insulin use and supports with subsidized/ free availability of insulin and monitoring means like glucose meters and CGM where indicated. “No child with type 1 diabetes should ever be deprived of insulin and its benefits” is the belief of Dr. Banshi Saboo, Ex-President of RSSDI.
So as they celebrate the centenary of insulin discovery, one realizes that we have a long way to go towards prevention and more effective management of diabetes and its complications.
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