Individuals With Diabetes Develop More Severe COVID-19 Symptoms

The results of a new study show that when coronavirus-infected diabetic mice were injected with an interferon beta, SETDB2 increased and helped decrease the inflammatory cytokines.

Individuals with diabetes and severe COVID-19 have reduced levels of interferon-beta than those without diabetes, which leads to a worsening in their COVID-19 symptoms, the results of a new study show.

“Interferon has been studied throughout the pandemic as a potential therapy, with efforts going back and forth between trying to increase or decrease interferon levels. My sense is that its efficacy as a therapy will be both patient and timing specific,” Kathrine Gallagher, MD, of the Michigan Medicine Departments of Surgery and Microbiology and Immunology, said in a statement. “We’re trying to home in on what controls SETDB2, which is sort of the master regulator of a lot of these inflammatory cytokines that you hear about as being increased in COVID-19, such as IL-1B, TNFalpha, and IL-6.”

Interferon, a cytokine important for viral immunity, has been previously linked to increased SETDB2 response to heal inflammatory wounds.

The results of the study showed that when coronavirus-infected diabetic mice were injected with an interferon beta, SETDB2 was increased and helped decrease the inflammatory cytokines.

The results of the study not only highlight the continued study of interferon but also a need to understand the timing and cell-specificity in therapy for individuals with underlying conditions.

Reference

Why do people with diabetes develop severe COVID-19? EurekAlert. News release. September 7, 2021. Accessed September 8, 2021. https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/927716