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COVID-19 and Diabetes: The "Bidirectional Relationship" and Unknown Long-Term Effects on Pancreatic Function

Holli Burroughs
Holli Burroughs
Faculty Adviser(s)

COVID-19 remains an important topic of discussion and scientific research due to its widespread and ongoing impact on global health. One population that has severely been affected is type 2 diabetics. Individuals with type 2 diabetes are more likely to develop severe cases of COVID, have a worse prognosis, and be at an increased risk of mortality, making diabetes one of the most common comorbidities of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. The possible reason for increase in viral severity has been described as a “bidirectional relationship” between COVID-19 and type 2 diabetes. The bidirectional relationship suggests that not only are there physical and biochemical factors that increase the risk of severe COVID infection in diabetic individuals, but becoming infected with COVID-19 also further aggravates diabetes. This presentation will explain the background of both COVID-19 and diabetes, as well as the various proposed mechanisms within the bidirectional relationship. It will also look at areas that still need to be researched, including long-term effects of COVID in diabetic populations and viral effects of COVID on pancreatic function. 


Holli Burroughs is a senior biochemistry and chemistry double major from Stoneville, North Carolina. During her time at Salem she has been involved in American Chemical Society, TriBeta Biological Honors Society, Sights and Insights, Mortar Board Honor Society, and has served as an Admissions Ambassador and an Elections Committee co-chair. Following her time at Salem, she hopes to attend pharmacy school or pursue a career within the pharmaceutical industry.