July 31, 2021

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New study: Can COVID-19 cause diabetes?

Updated June 27, 2021, 3:53 p.m.

  • Diabetics belong to the corona risk group, but the risk is not increased equally for everyone. Secondary diseases caused by diabetes are critical.
  • Researchers have discovered a protein that acts as a “door opener” for the corona virus. It attaches SARS-CoV-2 to the pancreas and can cause type 1 diabetes.
  • However, one expert says that so far such diabetics have not accumulated due to SARS-CoV-2.

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Diabetics belong to the risk group Corona virus SARS-CoV-2 is particularly dangerous. Researchers Stanford University in the US now has a study Invented a mechanism to reverse via SARS-CoV-2 Diabetics May trigger.

People with diabetes are in a vaccine immunization group and have been able to protect themselves from the virus in this way for weeks. The reason for this is usually one for every diabetic The risk of a severe course of COVID-19 increased Wearing.

For example, a patient with type 2 diabetes has a higher risk because their blood sugar is well controlled. The risk increases Diabetics– Chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, kidney damage, urinary tract infections or chronic wound infection.

In addition, patients with type 2 diabetes are often overweight, which is another risk factor for a severe course of COVID-19. Diabetes can also lead to immune deficiency, so the body is more strongly attacked by the corona virus and less resistant to it.

Does SARS-CoV-2 affect blood sugar levels?

Corona is not the only virus Diabetes Is now being studied in a study conducted by researchers at Stanford University. Personal case reports have previously suggested.

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When type 1 diabetes occurs, the cells in the pancreas are damaged, causing them to no longer release insulin, resulting in increased blood sugar. However, it is not yet known what causes this diabetes to occur after COVID-19 infection.

SARS-CoV-2 was suspected to damage insulin-producing cells because it could, for example, in people with lung, kidney, or intestinal infections. Another chance for that Virus Related diabetes cases are caused by the body’s autoimmune exposure to the virus.

Cell culture tests and autopsies should provide clarity

To clarify this, the scientists performed infection tests on cell cultures and autopsied only seven COVID-19 patients. Using cell cultures, they first tested which docking points were available for the corona virus in the pancreas. Scientists have discovered a large number of proteins that can be used as a door opener for SARS-CoV-2 cells.

“We found a significantly stronger expression of neuropylene-1 in beta cells,” the research team reported. An infection test showed that the virus enters such beta cells in the pancreas, multiplies in them and then causes them to die.

As a result, these cells also stopped producing insulin. Tissue samples from seven autopsies also confirmed this. SARS-CoV-2 was also found in their beta cells, and they carried abnormally large amounts of neuropilin-1 protein to their cell surface.

Expert: There is no accumulation of diabetics due to the relationship shown in the study

However, Diabetologist Baptist says one should not exaggerate the results of the study on the risk of diabetes in relation to SARS-CoV-2. “This finding is interesting in that the new door opener has identified a protein molecule called neurofilin-1 as a potential entry point for the virus,” said the diabetes doctor.

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But: “Of the globally available data suspected of causing diabetes by SARS-CoV-2 infection, no accumulation of diabetics due to beta cell destruction has been shown so far.” But the expert says that if this pathway for viral infection plays a major role it will actually be expected.

Data from a German registry show no increased incidence of symptoms such as type 1 diabetes since the onset of corona infection. “This study has only examined the mechanisms by which the organ is involved in the virus and has shown informed and important information. The meaning of these findings in terms of population is not currently clear and is not the subject of investigation.”

Also read: All current information about corona infection in our live blog

About the expert: Professor Dr. Baptist Calvitz is the Associate Medical Director of the Clinic of Internal Medicine, Diabetes, Endocrinology and Nephrology at the University Clinic in Dubingen. He is the media spokesman for the German Diabetes Association.

Sources used:

  • Study der Stanford University: Cell Metabolism. SARS-CoV-2 affects human pancreatic cells and exhibits β cell deficiency.
  • Professor Dr. Calvits to our editorial team on the study
  • Helios-Magazine: Why do diabetics belong to the corona risk group? https://www.helios-gesundheit.de/magazin/corona/news/warum-gehoeren-diabetiker-zur-corona-risikogruppe/

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