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Coronavirus can infect pancreatic cells, might cause diabetes: Study

Coronavirus can infect pancreatic cells, might cause diabetes: Study

Pancreatic cells may be infected by the coronavirus, which may end up damaging their function and causing diabetes. New research has found that insulin-producing cells are at risk of being damaged due to Covid-19. This explains why some previously healthy Covid survivors are developing diabetes after the infection.

Prof Shuibing Chen at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York analysed lab-grown clusters of cells that mimic the function of human organs and found that lung, colon, heart, liver, and pancreas could be infected by Covid-19. His findings suggest that dopamine-producing brain cells are also at risk, reported The Guardian.

After health professionals noticed a growing trend of diabetes among Covid patients, there have been several theories. Further experiments proved that the beta cells in the pancreas are at risk. Once infected, they produced less insulin and hormones. Chen said that the team is calling the phenomena "transdifferentiation".

The study, presented at the meeting of the European Association, stated that the coronavirus is basically changing the organs at a cellular rate. "Instead of being hardcore beta cells which secrete a lot of insulin, they start to mix different hormones," said Chen.

Separate research carried out by Prof Francesco Dotta at the University of Siena in Italy also confirmed that coronavirus affects pancreatic cells and targets the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) protein, said The Guardian report.

Prof Francesco Rubino, chair of metabolic surgery at King's College London, said that it is not yet clear whether Covid-19 infection can cause diabetes. However, it is a possibility, he clarified.

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TAGS:Diabetes Covid Updates Health 
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