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Pre-diabetes results in higher chances of developing severe COVID-19


Fiocruz Bahia


Researchers of Fiocruz Bahia analyzed blood biomarkers to understand the causes of the worsening of COVID-19 in patients with pre-diabetes mellitus. An association was observed between the levels of the cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) and the development of severe cases of the disease. The study also observed that patients did not present severe sequelae three months after recovering. Led by researchers Natália Machado and Viviane Boaventura, the study was published in Frontiers in Endocrinology.

Researchers analyzed blood biomarkers to understand the causes of the worsening of COVID-19 in patients with pre-diabetes mellitus

The research compared the blood biomarkers of patients with pre-diabetes and patients without pre-diabetes, during the most severe phase of the infection and then three months after hospitalization. It was observed that pre-diabetic patients needed more hospitalization time, 15 days on average, when compared with an average of 8 days for patients without pre-diabetes. Pre-diabetic individuals that required intensive care amounted to 78% of the cases, when compared to 56% of patients without pre-diabetes who needed the same level of care. In addition, pre-diabetic individuals also presented a higher degree of pulmonary lesion.

A relation was found between these severe cases and levels of IL-6. This factor, together with the reduction of blood oxygenation, was found to be elevated in 63% of the pre-diabetic individuals, but no big alterations were found in other biomarkers, such as alpha-TNF and leukotriene B4. Thanks to this observation, researchers understood that high levels of IL-6 can be a relevant factor for the worsening of COVID-19.

The research also investigated the impact of the disease on pre-diabetic patients, three months later. Examining the level of quality of life and residual symptoms, no significant differences were observed in laboratory parameters in the period of three months after the acute phase of the disease. No big changes in residual symptoms were observed between patients with and without pre-diabetes.
The same work group had already produced another research that analyzed the interaction of leukotriene B4 in the worsening of cases of Covid-19 in people with diabetes.

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