Doctors on Thursday said more persons became diabetic after being infected with COVID-19.
“There’s what we call new onset diabetes after contracting COVID-19,” said Dr. Carol Montano, vice president of the Philippine Society of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism (PSEDM).
“This was discovered in a meta analysis which found there was an increase in diabetic patients among those 18 years old and above,” Montano said in a televised press briefing.
On the other hand, a person’s immunity is lowered when they have high blood glucose and this is worsened by the cytokine storm, said Dr. Aurora Macaballug, also an official of the PSEDM.
Some COVID-19 patients are given steroids, which can increase blood sugar, Macaballug said.
One in five virus patients or 20 percent are diabetic, Macaballug said, citing a study on Philippine COVID-19 outcomes conducted at the Philippine General Hospital.
The study found that 53 percent of COVID-19 outcomes resulted in death, 34 percent led to intensive care unit admission, and 30 percent resulted in respiratory failure, Macaballug said.
This is why the group urges diabetic patients to get vaccinated and receive their booster shots, Montano said.
“Our constant reminder is this may be the end of COVID but diabetes never ends,” she also said.
On Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) laid out three possible paths that the COVID-19 pandemic might follow in 2022—with a new, more virulent variant as the worst-case scenario.
The WHO said the most likely way forward was that the severity of disease caused by the virus would wane over time, due to greater public immunity.
But the UN health agency also said a more dangerous variant of concern than Omicron could be lurking round the corner.
The WHO released its updated COVID-19 Strategic Preparedness, Readiness and Response Plan, with the organization’s chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus hoping it will be the last.
It lays out three possible scenarios for how the third year of the pandemic will pan out.
“Based on what we know now, the most likely scenario is that the virus continues to evolve, but the severity of disease it causes reduces over time as immunity increases due to vaccination and infection,” Tedros told a press conference.
He said periodic spikes in cases and deaths might occur as immunity wanes, which may require occasional booster vaccinations for vulnerable people.
“In the best-case scenario, we may see less severe variants emerge, and boosters or new formulations of vaccines won’t be necessary,” he said.
“In the worst-case scenario, a more virulent and highly transmissible variant emerges. Against this new threat, people’s protection against severe disease and death, either from prior vaccination or infection, will wane rapidly.”
Tedros said that scenario would require significantly altering the currently-available vaccines, and then making sure they get delivered to the people most vulnerable to severe disease.
Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead on COVID-19, said the virus still has “a lot of energy left,” going into the third year of the pandemic.
Last week, more than 10 million new cases and 45,000 deaths were reported to the WHO, which said the number of new infections would be far higher as testing rates have dropped.
At the end of last week, more than 479 million confirmed cases had been registered throughout the pandemic, and more than 6 million deaths, although WHO acknowledges that the true toll could be several times higher.
The Department of Health (DOH), meanwhile, said it is considering including a booster dose as a requirement for a person to be considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Health Undersecretary and National Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC) chairperson Dr. Myrna Cabotaje, during a radio interview, said the WHO defined the term “fully vaccinated” as those who have had the primary vaccine series.
But local officials are considering adding a booster dose to encourage more people to get their third dose or booster jabs. With AFP