COVID-19 and type 2 diabetes have shared disease pathways, study finds

Individuals with diabetes are at increased risk for bacterial, parasitic and viral infections. New research published in Endocrine Reviews, a journal of the Endocrine Society, illuminates how intersections of the coronavirus infection (COVID-19) and type 2 diabetes may require new approaches in treatment for hospitalized patients.

Not only does the global COVID-19 pandemic have immediate implications for the therapy of type 2 diabetes, individuals with obesity are known to be at increased risk for complications arising from influenza, and obesity is emerging as an important comorbidity for disease severity in the context of COVID-19.

We reviewed how the pathophysiology of diabetes and obesity might intersect with COVID-19 biology and found key shared pathways and mechanisms linked to the development and treatment of type 2 diabetes. Cells within the lung and gut are major sites for coronavirus entry and inflammation. These cells express key proteins like Angiotensin Converting Enzyme 2 (ACE2) and Dipeptidyl Peptidase-4 (DPP4) that are also present in the development of type 2 diabetes."

Daniel J. Drucker, M.D., study's author, Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto

More studies need to be done to understand the risks and benefits of commonly used diabetes medications in patients with severe coronavirus infections. The pandemic highlights the importance of expanding innovative delivery of diabetes care and regular communication between people with diabetes and their health care providers.

The study, "Coronavirus infections and type 2 diabetes-shared pathways with therapeutic implications," was published online, ahead of print.

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