Relation of Incident Type 1 Diabetes to Recent COVID-19 Infection: Cohort Study Using e-Health Record Linkage in Scotland

Paul M McKeigue, Stuart McGurnaghan, Luke Blackbourn, Louise E Bath, David A McAllister, Thomas M Caparrotta, Sarah H Wild, Simon N Wood, Diane Stockton, Helen M Colhoun*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: Studies using claims databases reported that SARS-CoV-2 infection >30 days earlier was associated with an increase in the incidence of type 1 diabetes. Using exact dates of diabetes diagnosis from the national register in Scotland linked to virology laboratory data, we sought to replicate this finding.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: A cohort of 1,849,411 individuals aged <35 years without diabetes, including all those in Scotland who subsequently tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, was followed from 1 March 2020 to 22 November 2021. Incident type 1 diabetes was ascertained from the national registry. Using Cox regression, we tested the association of time-updated infection with incident diabetes. Trends in incidence of type 1 diabetes in the population from 2015 through 2021 were also estimated in a generalized additive model.

RESULTS: There were 365,080 individuals who had at least one detected SARS-CoV-2 infection during follow-up and 1074 who developed type 1 diabetes. The rate ratio for incident type 1 diabetes associated with first positive test for SARS-CoV-2 (reference category: no previous infection) was 0.86 (95% CI 0.62, 1.21) for infection >30 days earlier and 2.62 (95% CI 1.81, 3.78) for infection in the previous 30 days. However, negative and positive SARS-CoV-2 tests were more frequent in the days surrounding diabetes presentation. In those aged 0-14 years, incidence of type 1 diabetes during 2020-2021 was 20% higher than the 7-year average.

CONCLUSIONS: Type 1 diabetes incidence in children increased during the pandemic. However, the cohort analysis suggests that SARS-CoV-2 infection itself was not the cause of this increase.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDiabetes Care
Early online date26 Jul 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Jul 2022


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