Docs say Covid-19 may trigger diabetes


Scientists believe Covid-19 could cause diabetes in patients who have never had the disease before. Researchers from around the world are building a database of patients who developed the disease after contracting the coronavirus to track the results.

Francesco Rubino, professor of metabolic surgery at King’s College London, has observed a possible pattern between the disease caused by the virus and blood sugar levels and calls for a full study of the relationship. Other doctors have also reported an increase in type 1 and type 2 diabetes diagnoses in patients with Covid.

Prof. Rubino said that researchers studying the possible relationship “begin to believe that the relationship is likely true”. He told The Guardian: “In the last few months we have seen more cases of patients with diabetes either during the Covid-19 experience or shortly afterwards. We are now beginning to believe that the link is likely true – it is the virus’ ability to cause sugar metabolism to malfunction. “

Led by King’s College London and Monash University, researchers and clinicians last June set up a global registry of new cases of diabetes in patients with Covid-19 called the CoviDiab Registry Project.

In addition, a recent study on Diabetes & Metabolic Syndrome: Clinical Research & Reviews found that 20.6 percent of patients examined with mild to moderate Covid-19 had newly diagnosed diabetes on admission.

Research previously found that ACE-2 – the protein the virus binds to – is found in the organs involved in glucose metabolism, including the pancreas, small intestine, liver and kidney, and the lungs. This has led scientists to hypothesize that the coronavirus can then cause glucose metabolism disorders, which in some cases leads to the onset of diabetes.

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After the global registry was set up, Prof. Rubino spoke to The Independent about the diseases as “two pandemics” and said, “Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases and we are now realizing the consequences of the inevitable clash between two pandemics. ”

Findings so far already suggest that the coronavirus can cause more serious complications in patients with pre-existing diabetes: Around a quarter of people who have died from Covid-19 also reportedly had blood sugar problems.

According to 2019 figures, around 3.9 million people in the UK were diagnosed with diabetes. However, doctors believe that nearly a million more people are living with undiagnosed type 2 diabetes. The total number is expected to rise to 5.5 million by 2030.