CCU043: Investigating new onset diabetes following COVID-19 infection.

Project lead:
Kamlesh Khunti and Cameron Razieh, University of Leicester

Over the last 24 months, evidence has consistently reported that certain long-term diseases, such as diabetes,  are very common in people with COVID-19. Diabetes has also been linked with an increased risk of severity (i.e. worsened symptoms) and mortality (i.e. more deaths) in patients with COVID-19. A number of recent studies have also examined the link between having consistently high blood sugar levels, in people with and without diabetes, with COVID-19 outcomes. These studies show that patients with high sugar levels have a higher risk of death compared to those with normal range glucose levels or without diabetes. Further, there has been discussion on ‘new onset diabetes’ following COVID-19; however, long-term follow-up assessments in patients without pre-existing diabetes post-COVID-19 is limited.

This project will be the first population analysis to quantify the risk of developing new onset diabetes post-COVID-19 and in those with and without a host of cardiovascular diseases (such as stroke). It will also quantify its potential links with outcomes (such as death), compared to current and historical trends seen in developing new onset diabetes in those with post-seasonal influenza (i.e. flu). This project will assess and compare whether patients with and without cardiovascular diseases may need longer-term assessment to determine longer-term risk of diabetes and other outcomes after discharge.

This study will improve our understanding in this area and determine the epidemiology of new onset diabetes following COVID-19. It may allow us to make recommendations on whether patients require specialised diabetes screening and management following COVID-19 infection. This may improve patient care and wellbeing in those with and without prevalent cardiovascular disease and inform policy within the NHS and beyond.