The deadly coronavirus continues to baffle leading health experts. In the latest research, the deadly virus appears to trigger diabetes in those who previously did not have the condition. How?
COVID-19 may trigger diabetes for those who were previously healthy, warned experts.
Experts have revealed that people who suffer from type 2 diabetes carry a higher risk of dying from the deadly virus, however, new research indicates those who have tested positive for the virus could also develop the condition.
An essay published in the New England Journal of Medicine detailed how a protein which helps the virus enter human cells is found not only in the lungs, but also in other organs.
These include glucose metabolising organs including the liver and kidneys.
An international group of 17 leading diabetes experts wrote that new-onset diabetes is being observed in patients who have tested positive for the virus.
It is unclear exactly how the virus which causes coronavirus impacts diabetes.
Research did indicate that ACE-2, the protein which binds to SARS-Cov-2, allowed the virus to enter human cells and moved to other organs including the pancreas, the small intestine, the fat tissue, the liver and the kidney.
Researchers of the study believe that by entering these tissues, the virus may cause multiple and complex dysfunctions of glucose metabolism.
ACE-2 is a specific protein that allows the virus to infect human cells.
Also known as the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2, the protein provides the entry point for the coronavirus to hook into and infect a wide range of human cells.
ACE-2 is an enzyme that generates small proteins by cutting up the larger protein angiotensinogen which then goes on to regulate functions in the cell.
Francesco Rubino, a professor of metabolic surgery at King’s College London spoke to the Telegraph and said that many COVID-19 patients don’t know they have diabetes and that the disease itself causes their blood sugar to keep rising.
Professor Rubino added that many of the patients who developed the illness were predisposed, but that COVID-19 damaged their metabolism so much that it developed into a ‘full-blown clinically apparent’ version of the disease.
It’s been previously revealed that patients with type 2 diabetes are twice as likely to die from COVID-19.
A third of deaths from the virus have occurred among individuals with diabetes, which is linked to excess weight.
Professor Rubino added: “Diabetes is one of the most prevalent chronic diseases and we are now realising the consequences of the inevitable clash between two pandemics.
“Given the short period of human contact with this new coronavirus, the exact mechanism by which the virus influences glucose metabolism is still unclear and we don’t know whether the acute manifestation of diabetes in these patients represent classic type one, type two or possibly a new form of diabetes.
“We are of course trying to understand what situation is behind the observations.”
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