Emerging evidence suggests that COVID-19 may trigger diabetes in some people – but scientists don’t yet know if these new cases represent type 1 diabetes, type 2, or a new form.
Scientists have long suspected viral infections could play a role in triggering type 1 diabetes – at least in some people.
Now, the New England Journal of Medicine has published the emerging observations of a team of 17 international researchers exploring links between COVID-19 patients and diabetes.
Researchers behind the project include Stephanie Amiel of King’s College London, who has previously been funded by JDRF to investigate how hypoglycaemia risks can be reduced.
Her co-researcher is Francesco Rubino, who said: “Diabetes is one of the most prevalent chronic diseases and we are now realizing the consequences of the inevitable clash between two pandemics.”
He added: “Given the short period of human contact with this new coronavirus, the exact mechanism by which the virus influences glucose metabolism is still unclear and we don’t know whether the acute manifestation of diabetes in these patients represent classic type 1, type 2 or possibly a new form of diabetes.”
Karen Addington, Chief Executive of JDRF, said: “Media headlines on emerging new research can be worrying – especially when the emerging picture is not yet clear. But further research will help us improve understanding of the links between COVID-19 and type 1 diabetes. It will also help inform national advice to the type 1 diabetes community on how to stay safe and well.”
JDRF’s coronavirus information page is here: www.jdrf.org.uk/coronavirus