The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 can infect insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, reducing their ability to secrete insulin and sometimes causing cell death, a new study suggests.

Damaging these insulin-producing cells, known as beta cells, can potentially worsen symptoms of diabetes, particularly type 1 diabetes, wherein the pancreas already makes little to no insulin, according to the study authors. “If you imagine that there are some patients who already have diabetes, if the virus comes in and nails the remaining beta cells you have, that’s not good,” said co-senior author Peter Jackson, a professor in the department of microbiology and immunology at Stanford University School of Medicine. 



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