Understanding the Relationship between Diabetes and COVID-19


COVID-19 is a relatively new virus, and one that researchers are continuing to learn more about every day. Studies have shown that individuals with underlying health conditions are at increased risk for complications and mortality from COVID-19; this includes diabetes. Healthcare providers have also seen an increase in new-onset diabetes cases and are interested in knowing whether this is related to COVID-19. The virus binds to ACE2 receptors, which are expressed in pancreatic beta cells. This may contribute to the development of ketosis and ketoacidosis in patients with COVID-19 and alter glucose metabolism.

In an effort to gather data and investigate any potential relationship between COVID-19 and diabetes, researchers have established a global registry called the CoviDIAB Registry. This registry will collect data from patients around the world that “includes, but is not limited to, the prolonged effects after the complications of the virus and diabetes subside, whether the new-onset diabetes is a different type of diabetes, and the impact of different phenotypes present at presentation and during recovery.”

The data would then be used to guide future studies and potentially develop more effective treatment methods. There have been multiple cases where individuals have been diagnosed with COVID-19 as well as ketosis or diabetic ketosis. In turn, this developed into ketoacidosis and diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) in some patients, which can be dangerous to their health if left untreated. Both ketosis and diabetes are linked to longer hospital stays for COVID-19 patients, and ketosis has also been attributed to an increased risk of mortality.

More research is necessary to understand any possible connections between COVID-19 and diabetes, including severity of complications and diagnosis of new-onset diabetes. As more data is collected and analyzed, researchers can help guide appropriate treatment strategies in order to reduce complications and better manage patient health.

Though not involved with this study, the Diabetes Research Connection (DRC) has been involved in advancing diabetes research through providing critical funding to early career scientists. Donations come from individuals, corporations, and foundations, and 100% of these funds go directly to the scientists for their projects. Check out current DRC projects and learn more about how to support these efforts by visiting https://diabetesresearchconnection.org.

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