Unexpected viral behavior linked to type 1 diabetes in high-risk children

Viruses have long been suspected to be involved in the development of type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease, but consistent evidence connecting viruses to the condition has been hard to come by.

Investigators at the Baylor College of Medicine, the University of South Florida, and other institutions studied samples available through the TEDDY study, the largest prospective observational cohort study of newborns with increased genetic risk for type 1 diabetes, to address this knowledge gap. TEDDY studies young children in the U.S. (Colorado, Georgia/Florida and Washington State) and in Europe (Finland, Germany and Sweden).

“Type 1 diabetes occurs when the immune system destroys its own insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar in the body. Without it, the body cannot keep normal blood sugar levels causing serious medical complications,” said co-author Dr. Richard Lloyd, professor of molecular virology and microbiology and member of the Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center at Baylor. “Type 1 diabetes is a life-threatening disease that requires life-long insulin injections to treat.”

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