JDRFNewsBehind the Headlines: COVID-19 and type 1 diabetes

Behind the Headlines: COVID-19 and type 1 diabetes

Posted on 19 March 2021

Covid-19, which is today being linked to type 1 diabetes
Currently, no studies have demonstrated a link between COVID-19 and type 1 diabetes

You may have seen media reports this morning on potential links between COVID-19 and diabetes.

The Guardian quotes Professor Francesco Rubino, from King’s College London, as calling for an investigation into any links between the two conditions.

Currently, no studies have demonstrated a link between COVID-19 and the development of any autoimmune condition, including type 1 diabetes.

However, he says he has seen higher than expected numbers of new diabetes diagnoses in the months since the pandemic began.

Last year, Professor Rubino set up a database for clinicians to report cases of diabetes – either type 1 or type 2 – that they suspected could be caused by COVID-19.

Other researchers behind the project include Professor Stephanie Amiel, who has previously been funded by JDRF to investigate how hypoglycaemia risks can be reduced.

Databases such as the one developed by Professor Rubino will be vital in helping researchers to understand if there is a link between COVID-19 and diabetes, or not.

Conor McKeever, Research Communications Manager at JDRF, said: “Scientists have long suspected viral infections could play a role in triggering type 1 diabetes – at least in some people. However, further analysis is needed to establish whether there is a definitive link between COVID-19 and new-onset type 1 diabetes, and if so whether COVID-19 has any impact on the severity of the condition.”

He added: “Headlines in the media can be worrying – especially when the full research picture is not yet clear. But further research will help us continue to improve understanding of the links between COVID-19 and type 1 diabetes.”

See our COVID information page – including advice on getting your vaccine – here.

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