Covid-19 can infect pancreatic cells that produce the hormone insulin and alter their function, which may explain why some patients develop diabetes for the first time after coronavirus infection, according to two new scientific studies presented at the European Union Annual Conference on the Study of Diabetes (EASD).
diabetic patients...if they become infected, they usually develop more serious complications and a severe metabolic disorder
Doctors are seeing more and more cases of Covid-19 patients developing diabetes either as long as they have a coronavirus infection or after they have recovered. New research confirms that the virus can also affect the pancreas, disrupting its ability to produce insulin and thus properly regulate blood sugar levels.
The first study, led by Professor Swinging Chen of the Weill Cornell School of Medicine in New York, according to the British Guardian, used organoids (laboratory instruments), finding that many of them, such as the heart, lungs, liver, pancreas and brain, can be infected with the coronavirus. Further research has shown that pancreatic insulin-producing beta cells are vulnerable to the coronavirus and, when infected, produce less insulin. It is not yet clear how long these changes in the pancreas triggered by Covid-19 last, but evidence so far indicates that the lesion is not permanent in all patients.
A second Italian study, led by Professor Francesco Dotta of the University of Siena, confirmed that Covid-19 attacks pancreatic cells by targeting the ACE2 protein. According to researchers, patients with pre-existing diabetes or prediabetes have a higher risk of pancreatic dysfunction if they become infected with the coronavirus. According to Dota, "diabetic patients - in general - are not more prone to Covid-19 infection, but if they become infected, they usually develop more serious complications and a severe metabolic disorder."
New studies show that Covid-19 can increase a person's chances of developing diabetes, whether they are predisposed to it or even all of a sudden.