“Medics in China and Italy have previously found more children developing type 1 diabetes during the pandemic but ruled it was unrelated to Covid-19.
Clinicians at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust wanted to see whether cases of type 1 diabetes might actually be linked to the pandemic.
Together with researchers at Imperial College London, the team is the first to find a possible link between Covid-19 and new-onset type 1 diabetes in children. Around 30 children were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes between March 23 and June 4, the experts found. They said this was roughly double the amount that are usually diagnosed with the condition, which isn’t driven by obesity like type 2 diabetes.
Dr Karen Logan, study co-author, said: ‘Our analysis shows during the peak of the pandemic the number of new cases of type 1 diabetes in children was unusually high in two of the hospitals in north west London compared to previous years.
‘When we investigated further, some of these children had active coronavirus or had previously been exposed to the virus.’
The experts suggest the coronavirus – technically called SARS-CoV-2 – could directly attacks cells in the pancreas which are vital for producing insulin.”
“The signs of diabetes can easily be mistaken for a lingering flu — especially in children with undiagnosed type 1 diabetes — so it’s crucial to ask your doctor to test your (or your child’s) blood sugar and urine.
[The results are currently inconclusive for many reasons, including the fact that the sample size is tiny. Children seeking treatment for COVID-19 may have had undiagnosed Type 1 diabetes, discovered only during treatment. Also, diabetes is a comorbidity that increases the severity of COVID-19, having more with Type-1 seeking medical attention and increasing the number of cases identified. ]