By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Sept. 3, 2020 (HealthDay Information) — A COVID-19 an infection may cause a variety of critical, typically lingering well being issues, like lung injury, kidney injury and ongoing coronary heart points. These days, analysis has instructed it might additionally trigger the sudden onset of insulin-dependent diabetes.

A brand new report particulars the case of a 19-year-old German with asymptomatic COVID-19 an infection who ended up hospitalized with a brand new case of insulin-dependent diabetes.

5 to seven weeks earlier than his diabetes developed, the younger man’s mother and father developed COVID-19 signs after an Austrian ski journey. Ultimately, the complete household was examined. Each mother and father examined constructive for COVID-19 antibodies, as did the 19-year-old, indicating all had been contaminated with the coronavirus. Nonetheless, the son had by no means had signs of the an infection.

When the 19-year-old was admitted to the hospital, he was exhausted, had misplaced greater than 26 kilos in just a few weeks, was urinating often and had left-sided flank ache. His blood sugar stage was over 550 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) — a standard stage is lower than 140 mg/dL on a random blood check.

Docs suspected he had type 1 diabetes. He examined constructive for a genetic variant that’s hardly ever related to sort 1 diabetes, however not genetic variants generally current in sort 1. He additionally did not have antibodies that individuals with sort 1 diabetes often have at analysis.

New sort of diabetes?

This left the consultants puzzled. Was this kind 1 or type 2 diabetes or some new sort of diabetes? If it is not sort 1 diabetes, may this sudden onset diabetes go away by itself? And eventually, they could not make certain that the COVID-19 an infection prompted the diabetes. It is potential it was a preexisting condition that hadn’t but been identified.

Nonetheless, the authors of the research, led by Dr. Matthias Laudes of College Medical Centre Schleswig-Holstein in Kiel, Germany, imagine they’ve a believable clarification for the way COVID-19 infections might result in a brand new and sudden diabetes analysis. Their report is within the Sept. 2 Nature Metabolism.

Beta cells within the pancreas comprise a big variety of so-called ACE2 receptors. These receptors are believed to be the place the spike protein from the coronavirus attaches to cells. Beta cells produce insulin, a hormone that helps usher the sugar from meals into the physique’s cells for gasoline. The authors theorized {that a} coronavirus an infection, which impacts the ACE2 receptors, may also injury beta cells within the pancreas.


This course of is just like what’s believed to happen in sort 1 diabetes. The immune system mistakenly activates wholesome cells (autoimmune assault) after a viral infection and damages or destroys beta cells, probably inflicting sort 1 diabetes. Somebody with sort 1 diabetes has little to no insulin. Basic sort 1 diabetes requires lifelong insulin injections or supply of insulin by way of an insulin pump.

Dr. Caroline Messer, an endocrinologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York Metropolis, mentioned she’s heard there’s been an uptick in autoimmune diabetes because the pandemic began.

She mentioned the authors’ suggestion that beta cells could also be destroyed in COVID infections is smart.

“This might account for the uptick in antibody detrimental sort 1 diabetes,” she mentioned. “It is vital for practitioners to concentrate on the potential of insulin-dependent diabetes roughly 4 weeks after an infection despite detrimental [type 1 diabetes] antibodies.”

Sanjoy Dutta, vp of analysis for JDRF (previously the Juvenile Diabetes Analysis Basis), mentioned, “I do not suppose that is sort 1 or type 2 diabetes. I feel it needs to be known as new onset or sudden onset insulin-dependent diabetes.”

Monitoring these instances

Dutta mentioned there have been sufficient of those instances in COVID sufferers {that a} registry has been created to maintain observe of their frequency. It contains greater than 150 medical facilities all through the world.

He mentioned individuals with sudden onset diabetes additionally appear to have vital insulin resistance and want very excessive doses of intravenous insulin. Insulin resistance is extra widespread in type 2 diabetes.

He has additionally learn of diabetes instances which have reversed — not requiring insulin, which doesn’t occur with sort 1 diabetes.

“We have to know the mechanism behind these instances, and till we get extra proof, we must always keep open-minded. We do not know if it is beta cell destruction. It is too quickly for this to be boxed in as sort 1 diabetes,” Dutta famous.

A brand new research from the College of Florida might put a damper on the German authors’ concept. They regarded on the pancreases of 36 deceased individuals with out COVID, and did not discover ACE2 of their beta cells.


Their discovering “doesn’t present assist to the notion that you’ll develop diabetes as a result of the coronavirus goes in and destroys a person’s insulin-producing cells,” senior writer Mark Atkinson, director of the UF Diabetes Institute, mentioned in a college information launch.

The UF research was simply revealed as a preprint on the web site Preprint web sites let scientists distribute analysis shortly. Nonetheless, info on them has not been peer-reviewed and needs to be thought-about preliminary.

Dutta mentioned regardless of the mechanism could be, most of the people and well being care suppliers needs to be alert for signs of diabetes after a COVID-19 an infection. These embody excessive fatigue, dry mouth, excessive thirst, frequent urination and unexplained weight reduction.

WebMD Information from HealthDay


SOURCES: Caroline Messer, M.D., endocrinologist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York Metropolis; Sanjoy Dutta, Ph.D., vp, analysis, JDRF;Nature Metabolism, Sept. 2, 2020; College of Florida Well being, information launch, Sept. 2, 2020

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