Clinical and immunological characteristics of children diagnosed with—Type 1 diabetes during the COVID-19 pandemic

Merav Gil Margolis*, Sarit Weizman, Liora Lazar, Michal Yakobovich-Gavan, Ariel Tenenbaum, Moshe Phillip, Tal Oron

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Aims: To find clinical and immunological signatures of the SARS-CoV-2 and the COVID-19 pandemic on children newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D). Methods: A single-centre, retrospective, observational study comparing the clinical and immunological characteristics of children diagnosed with T1D the year before and during the first 2 years of the COVID-19 pandemic. Data extracted from the medical records included clinical and demographic parameters, COVID-19 PCR results and the presence of anti-islet, thyroid and celiac-related antibodies. Also obtained from the medical records was a family history of T1D, celiac disease and autoimmune thyroid disease in a first-degree family member. Results: A total of 376 children were diagnosed with T1D during the study period. A total of 132 in the pre-COVID era and 246 in the first 2 years of the pandemic. At diagnosis, the pH in children with DKA was lower, and HbA1c tended to be higher in the COVID-19 group compared to the pre-COVID-19 group (7.30 [7.18, 7.35] vs 7.33 [7.19, 7.36], p = 0.046) and (110.9 [86.9, 129.5] vs 100 [80.3, 129.5], p = 0.067]) respectively. Multiple islet antibodies (IA) were significantly more common among patients in the pre-COVID-19 group compared to the COVID-19 group (72% vs 61%, p = 0.032). Tissue transglutaminase antibodies were more common among children diagnosed in the COVID-19 compared to the pre-COVID group (16.6% vs 7.9%, p = 0.022). Conclusions: Our findings suggest that SARS-CoV-2 and the environmental alterations caused by the pandemic affected the clinical characteristics and the immunological profile of children diagnosed with T1D. It is, therefore, plausible that the virus plays a role in the autoimmune process causing T1D.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDiabetic Medicine
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Sars-Cov-2
  • antibodies
  • autoimmunity
  • diabetes mellitus type 1
  • immunology

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