Study links covid infection to an increase in type 1 diabetes in children and adolescents

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Two studies that did not definitively resolve the question of whether the coronavirus can cause the chronic disease of diabetes found that Covid-19 in children and adolescents appeared to increase the chance of acquiring diabetes. Over two years after the pandemic’s commencement, researchers from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health looked at new type 1 diabetes diagnoses using national health registries. They discovered that type 1 diabetes was roughly 60% more likely to develop in children who had tested positive for the coronavirus.

The risk within 30 days of a Covid infection confirmed by a PCR test was examined by the researchers. Young adults were also included in a Scottish study that was presented at the European Link for the Study of Diabetes meeting. This study indicated an increased risk one month following the viral sickness, but the researchers said they discovered no association after that point.

The authors of both studies emphasised that their findings do not necessarily imply a causal link between diabetes and the coronavirus. Other potential causes were emphasised, such as delays in seeking medical attention during the epidemic, the introduction of other diseases, and alterations in way of life brought on by lockdowns. (Read more about the potential long-term effects of COVID-19 in 17 million EU citizens.)

Jamie Hartmann-Boyce, an associate professor at the Nuffield department of primary care health sciences at the University of Oxford, stated: “There are a lot of plausible reasons that Covid-19 might lead to development of type 1 diabetes, but this remains in no way proved.”

According to a paper earlier this week in the medical journal The Lancet, the number of people with type 1 diabetes, in which the pancreas fails to generate the hormone insulin, may increase from 8.4 million to 17.4 million by the year 2040.

The illness, which has no known treatment and is most frequently diagnosed in children, is thought to be caused by a combination of genetics and exposure to particular pathogens, including SARS-Cov-2 as well as a larger family of viruses known as enteroviruses. Type 2 diabetes, which is more prevalent, typically appears later in life as sedentary habits and weight increase mess with the body’s ability to manage sugar.