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While the coronavirus disease is spreading across the globe, the WHO declared the outbreak of COVID-19 a global pandemic on 11 March 2020. In Hong Kong, the first 3 deaths related to COVID-19 all occurred in people with diabetes. Although the answer of whether people with diabetes have a higher susceptibility is currently unknown, there is data showing that people with diabetes, hypertension and other chronic diseases are more severely affected. In the editorial “COVID-19 and diabetes”, it stated that one possible explanation would be the increased expression of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). It promoted vasodilation and facilitated viral uptake which increased the risk of severe infection. The article also highlighted the lessons learnt from SARS outbreak in Hong Kong, that people had developed a higher degree of awareness, tenacity and preparedness to avoid transmission.


Anyone interested in future collaboration in this field of research is welcome to contact our key investigator Prof Ronald Ma in the Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, CUHK. Prof Ma’s research focuses on epidemiology of diabetes, genetics of diabetes and diabetic complications, gestational diabetes and intra-uterine programming, epigenetics and polycystic ovary syndrome.

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