Cases of Type 1 diabetes nearly doubled in children during the apex of the coronavirus pandemic, a study conducted in the U.K. found.
The study, conducted between March and June on participants up to the age of 16, showed that when hospitals tested children with Type 1 diabetes, some had the coronavirus while others had antibodies, WUSA-TV (Channel 9) reported.
Diabetes takes place when cells in the pancreas cease to create insulin, the hormone that turns blood sugar into energy. Without insulin, a condition of high blood sugar sets in and it damages the body.
Dr. Brynn Marks, a pediatric endocrinologist, said it is still not clear whether the coronavirus can cause diabetes to develop or if children who have it are at a greater risk of getting COVID-19.
“We still don’t know what exactly causes Type 1 diabetes,” Marks said, WUSA reported. “There’s some evidence that a related virus, the SARS virus which is similar to COVID, can attack the cells and pancreas that makes insulin so there is the possibility that COVID-19 may be linked to Type 1, but without larger-scale studies, we just don’t know the answer right now.”