OREANDA-NEWS. Patients with diabetes mellitus are more at risk of severe coronavirus infection. But there is also an inverse pattern. Clinical studies have shown that COVID-19 can cause the development of diabetes mellitus. This is due to the destruction of beta cells of the pancreas by the virus, said Svetlana Shokur, an endocrinologist of the Invitro group of companies, RIA Novosti reports. According to her, a chronic disease can develop in patients who have suffered from COVID in severe and moderate form.

«The fact is that the SARS-CoV-2 virus binds to ACE-2 receptors (angiotensin converting enzyme-2), which are present not only in the lungs, liver, kidneys and small intestine, but also in the pancreas», Shokur said.

She added that the virus attacks and destroys the beta cells of the pancreas, responsible for the production of insulin and lowering blood glucose levels. And the stronger the damage, the higher the risk of developing diabetes. In addition, the condition with coronavirus is accompanied by inflammation, which increases the production of reactive oxygen species.

«This leads to the launch of the main mechanism of the development of type II diabetes mellitus: the sensitivity of tissues to insulin decreases and insulin resistance increases», the doctor explained.

According to Shakur, the situation is aggravated by the side effects of a number of antiviral and hormonal drugs used to treat COVID-19. The side effect is associated with an increase in blood glucose levels. At the same time, the risk of developing diabetes in patients with mild and asymptomatic coronavirus is significantly lower, it is noted only in 1-2% of cases. Whereas in severe cases, pancreatic lesion is recorded in 17% of patients.