Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Dr Quinton Fivelman PhD – chief scientific officer at London Medical Laboratory – said researchers are “concerned”. “We are concerned about the way Covid penetrates organs,” he said. “The virus interacts with a receptor called ACE-2 to infiltrate cells in organs, including the pancreas.”
“Additional experiments revealed that Covid-19 selectively infected human islet β-cells in laboratory experiments,” Dr Fivelman added.
“This suggests that Covid infection of the pancreatic β-cells can, in some cases, lead to diabetes similar to type 1 diabetes in previously healthy patients.”
While more time is needed to determine how significant this link is, another area of research is gaining traction.
Ongoing research is mounting in whether Covid causes inflammation in the body, leading to insulin resistance.
“That means that the body is unable to properly use the natural insulin it produces,” Dr Fivelman explained. “Again, this would lead to diabetes symptoms.”
What are the symptoms of diabetes?
“The first signs that you may have diabetes are that you urinate more often, are frequently thirsty, are often tired, have unexpected weight loss or suddenly suffer from blurry eyesight,” Dr Fivelman pointed out.
“Keeping your blood sugar levels normal requires the proper balance of glucagon and insulin secretion at the appropriate times.
“A lack of insulin secretion can result in Type 1 diabetes. This may be triggered by Covid-19 attacking pancreatic cells.”
The doctor also pointed out that blood sugar levels are known to rise in some people who are fighting off a Covid infection.
“As yet, we have no clear idea of how long these remain at a high level, but this may certainly be a contributing factor.
“Some scientists are even speculating we may even be looking at a new type of diabetes, triggered by the effects of Covid.
“This may be linked to longer term high blood sugar levels in long Covid patients.”