The Impact of World Changing Technologies

Fast Company has recognized three of our technologies as 2021 World Changing Ideas.

Strategy and Strength|May.04, 2021

Technology that makes a positive impact in our global communities, when and where it's needed most. That's why we strive to innovate in all of our businesses.

That innovation isn't limited to our R&D teams. Making our products accessible and affordable is a key way in which our businesses at Abbott push innovation forward for the greater good of our communities. That's why this year, Fast Company has honored Abbott three times with their World Changing Ideas Awards.

First, our Nutrition team's collaboration with Children's Mercy Kansas City on the MUAC z-score tape which is now helping doctors around the world to easily assess if a child is at risk of malnutrition.

Next, our BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card, which is now available over the counter and without prescription at major U.S. retailers.

And finally, our FreeStyle Libre 2 integrated continuous glucose monitoring system.

All have put innovation to work for the betterment of society, to help restore health of the whole person. Let's dig in.

MUAC z-score tape
When helping solve some of the world's biggest challenges, a simple idea and unique partnerships can make a big impact.

We're collaborating with Children's Mercy Kansas City to do just that to expand global access to the MUAC z-score tape, which is designed to help screen more children around the world for malnutrition, ultimately expanding access to nutrition intervention and education they need for healthy childhood growth and development.

The MUAC z-score tape includes age-specific color-coded indicators to signal the risk of malnutrition. Healthcare providers simply take one end of the tape, slide it through two slits to create a loop around a child's upper arm. Color-coded indicators on the loop help assess the risk of malnutrition.

Dr. Susan Abdel-Rahman and a small team invented the tool by printing large sheets of the measuring tape on the same tear-resistant paper used in shipping envelopes.

They then cut each one. By hand.

Through this collaborative effort – between Abbott, Children's Mercy Kansas City, Hallmark and Children International, more than 12,500 healthcare professionals from more than 50 countries have been trained to use the MUAC z-score device, and more than 18,000 devices have been distributed for use in hospitals, pediatrician offices and communities around the world – making this simple, innovative and effective nutrition screening tool now available to millions of children around the world.

BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card
In the middle of the pandemic, people were still waiting days for several different types of COVID-19 test results. Our idea was simple: Make a test that could be done anywhere and provide results in 15 minutes. That's the BinaxNOW COVID-19 rapid antigen test.

Rapid testing has been a vital tool to helping quickly identify people with COVID-19 when they are most contagious, helping minimize the spread. That's why we've prioritized access to rapid testing in three main ways:

1. Providing rapid results in fewer than 15 minutes

2. Accessibility, as our BinaxNOW test requires no instrumentation

3. Availability as we scaled up our manufacturing to be able to produce 50 million tests per month

As people begin to re-engage in activities and communities that have been restricted since the start of COVID-19, rapid testing can be a key tool to providing confidence and peace of mind when doing so.

Through innovation, our BinaxNOW COVID-19 test provides more testing in more places, more frequently with fast results.

FreeStyle Libre 2 iCGM
Our FreeStyle Libre system represents the freedom for people with diabetes to live on their own terms. The product was designed with the idea of liberation in mind too, to give people who require 24/7 glucose monitoring and painful fingersticks a better way to manage their condition. The FreeStyle Libre systems are a first-of-its-kind wearable technology that eliminates the need for routine fingersticks.

Abbott put a unique global pricing structure in place to make the FreeStyle Libre 2 integrated continuous glucose monitoring system available to as many people managing their diabetes as possible. We priced it the same as the FreeStyle Libre 14 day system, which is a fraction of the cost of other available CGM systems.1 The innovation in the FreeStyle Libre 2 system provides unsurpassed 14 day accuracy2 and minute-by-minute glucose readings to catch highs or lows five minutes earlier compared to other systems3,4 — all without the need for fingersticks.5

As these innovations continue to help communities around the world, we'll continue to innovate across our businesses to create technologies that make a real difference in lives everywhere.

1Based on a comparison of list prices of the FreeStyle Libre portfolio versus competitors' CGM systems.
2Based on FDA iCGM special controls.
3Data on file. Abbott Diabetes Care.
4Dexcom G6 CGM User Guide.
5Finger sticks are required for treatment decisions when you see Check Blood Glucose symbol, when symptoms do not match system readings, when you suspect readings may be inaccurate, or when you experience symptoms that may be due to high or low blood glucose.

This story was originally published on May 04, 2021. It was updated on June 13, 2022, and March 28, 2024.




The BinaxNOW™ COVID-19 tests have not been FDA cleared or approved. They have been authorized by the FDA under an emergency use authorization. They have been authorized only for the detection of proteins from SARS-CoV-2, not for any other viruses or pathogens, and are only authorized for the duration of the declaration that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of emergency use of in vitro diagnostics for detection and/or diagnosis of COVID-19 under Section 564(b)(1) of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, 21 U.S.C. § 360bbb-3(b)(1), unless the declaration is terminated or authorization is revoked sooner. For serial testing, the BinaxNOW COVID-19 Antigen Tests should be performed twice over 3 days, at least 24 hours (and no more than 48 hours) apart. For symptomatic use, a single test can be used.


The FreeStyle Libre 2 Flash Glucose Monitoring System is a continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) device with real time alarms capability indicated for the management of diabetes in persons age 4 and older.*

WARNINGS/LIMITATIONS*: The System must not be used with automated insulin dosing (AID) systems, including closed loop and insulin suspend systems. Remove the sensor before MRI, CT scan, X-ray, or diathermy treatment. Do not take high doses of vitamin C (more than 500 mg per day), as this may falsely raise your Sensor readings. Failure to use the System according to the instructions for use may result in missing a severe low blood glucose or high blood glucose event and/or making a treatment decision that may result in injury. If glucose alarms and readings from the System do not match symptoms or expectations, use a fingerstick blood glucose value to make diabetes treatment decisions. Seek medical attention when appropriate and contact Abbott Toll Free (855-632-8658) or visit* for detailed indications for use and safety information.

*For full indications for use and safety information, see more here.

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