UK’s National Health Service (NHS) said that a quarter of people who died in hospitals due to COVID-19 were diabetics, releasing the first breakdown of underlying health conditions among the fatalities. According to the NHS data, 5,873 people, out of the 22,332 patients who died in hospital in England between March 31 and May 12, suffered from either type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
The second-highest underlying medical condition was dementia, followed by serious breathing problems and chronic kidney disease. The latest figures have corroborated the earlier reports which claimed patients with underlying medical conditions are at higher risk of succumbing to the infectious disease.
The novel coronavirus can infect multiple organs throughout the body including the lungs, pharynx, heart, liver, brain, kidneys, and intestines, researchers said in different reports. While SARS-CoV-2 has been classified as a respiratory virus, the detection of viral RNA in faecal specimens suggest that it might cause enteric infection.
According to a report published in Nature Medicine, some COVID-19 patients have suffered gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. Jie Zhou and colleagues at the University of Hong Kong demonstrated the active replication of SARS-CoV-2 in human intestinal organoids and isolation of infectious virus from the stool specimen of a patient with diarrheal COVID-19.
“Although not as common as respiratory symptoms, gastrointestinal symptoms have been present in a substantial proportion of patients with COVID-19,” wrote the researchers.
A separate report, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, highlighted that the virus preferentially infects cells in the respiratory tract but its direct affinity for organs other than the lungs remains poorly defined. The researchers quantified the viral load in autopsy tissue samples obtained from 22 patients died from COVID-19. As per the report, 17 patients out of 22 demonstrated more than two coexisting conditions and SARS-CoV-2 seemed to affect kidneys more than any other non-respiratory organs, even in patients without a history of chronic kidney disease.
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