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Study suggests COVID-19 could trigger new diabetes cases

By Editor
3rd February 2021
Coronavirus, Research Type 1 diabetes

A link between severe COVID-19 infections and new cases of diabetes in some people has been discovered in preliminary research.

Doctors have known for a while that people with diabetes are more at risk of becoming seriously unwell with coronavirus, but now researchers are focussing their attention on whether the virus can also trigger diabetes developing.

As association was first raised in the early months of the pandemic by doctors in Wuhan and in Italy. Now, a research paper has found that 14.4 per cent of people who became severely ill with COVID-19 developed diabetes.

Speaking to Reuters News Agency, diabetes researcher Dr Francesco Rubino, chair of metabolic and bariatric surgery at King’s College London, said: “COVID could be causing diabetes from scratch.

Dr Rubino is leading an international team which involves establishing a global registry of coronavirus-related diabetes cases.  Initially, he said, more than 300 doctors have applied to share cases for review, a number he expects to grow as infections flare up again.

He said: “These cases are coming from every corner of the world and every continent.”

Speaking to American news channel CBSN, Paediatrician Dr Dyan Hes said: “Researchers are working like crazy to see if COVID attacks the beta cells of the pancreas, which makes insulin. Some studies feel that they do, but other studies have been repeated saying it is not attracted to the beta cell. We still can’t figure out why.

“As a paediatrician we have definitely been following cases of children who have had COVID or didn’t even know they had COVID, but presented with type 1 diabetes.”

In an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the researchers stated it was “plausible” that COVID-19’s effects on the body’s ability to metabolise glucose, which could either complicate existing insulin levels or create new issues, leading to the onset of diabetes.

To read the study, click here.

Photo by Prasesh Shiwakoti (Lomash) on Unsplash

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