Type 1 Diabetes

Diabetes is a group of disorders characterized by high blood glucose levels. Type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic disease that usually debuts in childhood or adolescence.

It is characterized by the presence of autoantibodies against the beta cells that are involved in the production of insulin. Type 1 diabetes is a relatively rare disease, globally, affecting roughly 50 million people. The incidence of type 1 diabetes varies greatly between countries; the highest incidence (36.5/100,000) has been reported in Finland. The etiology of the disease is not known, but it is generally accepted that different factors, both genetic and environmental, contribute to the disease.

Viruses, especially EVs, are an environmental factor that is often identified as a possible causative factor in the development and or progression of type 1 diabetes.

There is neither a cure for type 1 diabetes nor a treatment to halt the progression of the disease. Patients with type 1 diabetes therefore need to endure life-long treatment with insulin to survive. To decrease the risks of complications, blood sugar levels need to be kept in balance. Both high and low levels are dangerous. If, in the early phase of the disease, some of the beta cells could be rescued from being destroyed by the autoantibodies, it is believed that would make it easier to maintain a balanced blood glucose and thereby lower the risk for complications from the disease. When EV is involved in type 1 diabetes, an EV antiviral treatment could potentially alter the disease’s progression by counteracting the infection that is driving the development of the disease.