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Scientists call for the help of people with diabetes to join the world’s largest coronavirus study

Log on to report symptoms

People living with diabetes can play a vital role in the fight against Covid-19 by using an app to log their daily symptoms, to help scientists learn more about how the virus affects people with the condition.

The COVID-19 Symptom Tracker app has been developed by scientists at King’s College London and health science company ZOE. It has already seen more than 2.5 million people logging on to report on their health, making it the largest public science project of its kind anywhere in the world.

Some people are more at risk of developing serious symptoms and complications from Covid-19. This appears to include people with diabetes, but there’s much we don’t yet understand about how Covid-19 develops in different groups of people. By reaching more people living with long-term health conditions and tracking their health throughout the pandemic, the researchers behind the app hope to shed light on factors that put people at greater risk from Covid-19.

Together with other health charities, we’re urging people with diabetes to help build a clearer picture of how Covid-19 affects us all. Anyone can join the study by downloading the simple, free COVID Symptom Tracker app and answering a few questions about your health and medications. You then spend a minute checking in every day, reporting whether you’re feeling physically healthy or experiencing any new symptoms. Family, friends or carers can also log daily updates for anyone who wants to take part but doesn’t have access to a smartphone.

Dr Lucy Chambers is our Head of Research Communications. She said:

We need to urgently address the current gaps in knowledge around how Covid-19 affects people living with pre-existing health conditions – including those living with any type of diabetes.

 “This is why it is crucial that everyone does their bit to help scientists gather the information needed to respond effectively to the pandemic and save lives.

 “If you – or someone in your family – live with diabetes, we encourage you to help advance our understanding of how the virus affects people with diabetes by downloading the COVID Symptom Tracker app and logging how you or those you might care for feel daily.

If you feel you can’t cope with your symptoms at home, your condition gets worse or your symptoms don’t get better after 7 days, then please urgently seek medical help by using the NHS 111 online coronavirus service (or calling NHS 111 if you don’t have internet access) - or dialling 999 for emergencies.

Study leader Dr Claire Steves, at King's College London, said:

We have been blown away by the public’s response to the app and the data collected so far has been invaluable. However, we have a clear gap in the data, so in order for us to really understand how the virus affects those over 70 and with pre-existing health conditions we need the support of the public more than ever to help us reach these individuals.” 

In response to the pandemic, we’re also asking scientists to apply for our funding to accelerate research into how coronavirus affects people living with diabetes. We hope that findings from research will help us rapidly improve the advice that can be given to people living with diabetes, and help them keep safe and healthy during this worrying time.

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