An international team of scientists are investigating a possible curious bi-directional relationship between COVID-19 and diabetes. The researchers, who are part of the CoviDiab project, have hypothesised that the SARS-CoV-2 infection maybe be triggering the onset of diabetes, and they have established a global registry to track occurrence of events and are calling for doctors around the world to contribute reports of cases of new-onset diabetes associated with COVID-19.
The CoviDiab registry is utilising Dendrite Clinical Systems’ innovative “Intellect Web” software to collect new cases of diabetes in patients with COVID-19 to understand the extent and the characteristics of the manifestations of diabetes in patients with COVID-19, and the best strategies for the treatment and monitoring of affected patients, during and after the pandemic. Since the CoviDiab registry was launched a small but growing body of evidence suggests a relationship between new-onset diabetes and COVID-19.
“Over the last few months, we’ve seen more cases of patients that had either developed diabetes during the Covid-19 experience, or shortly after that,” Rubino recently told The Guardian. “We are now starting to think the link is probably true – there is an ability of the virus to cause a malfunctioning of sugar metabolism.”
Despite an association between newly diagnosed diabetes and COVID-19, questions remain regarding causation remain.
It is known SARS-Cov-2 binds to ACE-2 receptors, which are expressed in several key metabolic organs and tissues including the pancreatic β-cells, adipose tissue, small intestine, liver and kidney, CoviDiab researchers stated. Therefore, it is plausible that SARS-Cov-2 could cause multiple co-existing alterations of glucose metabolism that can complicate the pathophysiology of pre-existing diabetes or lead to new mechanisms of disease.
The goal of the registry is to establish the extent and phenotype of new-onset diabetes that is defined by hyperglycaemia, confirmed Covid-19, a negative history of diabetes, and a history of a normal glycated haemoglobin level. The registry, which will be expanded to include patients with pre-existing diabetes who present with severe acute metabolic disturbance, may also be used to investigate the epidemiologic features and pathogenesis of Covid-19–related diabetes and to gain clues regarding appropriate care for patients during and after the course of Covid-19.
The researchers indicated they plan to begin a preliminary analysis once the registry reaches 200 case reports.
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