Coronavirus SARS-COV-2: Research Activities of the DZD

Researchers around the world are working to learn more about the spread of the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and the course of the disease Covid-19. In addition, they are searching for active substances to better treat the disease and stop the severe course of COVID-19. The German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD) is involved in various research initiatives and studies. DZD researchers are also investigating whether the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is particularly dangerous for people with diabetes and how the metabolic disease can be managed during the pandemic. Here is a first overview, also of joint activities of the German Centres for Health Research (DZG).

Source: Pete Linforth, Pixabay

LEOSS: Case Registry with Clinical Data on Patients with SARS-COV-2 Infection

When do patients become seriously ill after infection with the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2? What is the best way to treat them? Which measures have been successful so far? In order to answer these and many other questions about Covid-19, doctors and researchers need reliable clinical data. The Lean European Open Survey on SARS-CoV-2 Infected Patients (LEOSS) collects clinical data on patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection. To this end, all German Centres for Health Research are working together on the project initiated by the German Society of Infectious Diseases (DGI) together with the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF). For example, it is also possible to investigate whether and how preexisting illnesses influence the course of the disease. For this purpose, the DZD has compiled important diabetes values that are recorded in LEOSS and is involved in the recruitment of patients at the partner sites. The aim is to find out what influence obesity and diabetes have on the course of the disease.


WHO Solidarity Trial

Researchers around the world are working as quickly as possible to find active substances that can halt the severe course of COVID-19. It is hoped that drugs that have already been approved for other diseases such as HIV or malaria and have been shown to be effective against the novel coronavirus in the laboratory and in individual treatment trials may prove beneficial. The World Health Organization (WHO) has selected four particularly promising active substances or combinations of active substances (remdesivir, chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir and ritonavir) to be tested in a clinical trial program in several countries. In Germany, the DZIF, together with the German Centre for Health Research, is responsible for coordinating this solidarity trial. It is supported by all German Centres for Health Research (DZG)


Covid-19- Knowledge Graph: Making Knowledge Visible

In the COVID*Graph project, publicly available literature sources, patent specifications for COVID-19 and data sets from genome and molecular biology databases are linked and graphically presented in a knowledge graph. The aim is to help researchers find their way quickly and efficiently through the diverse data on COVID-19. The DZD data and knowledge management team plays a leading role in the project. Since people with diabetes have a higher incidence of severe complications in the case of a SARS-CoV-2 infection, DZD researchers are extending data integration technology to include diabetes-related data.

Source: Screenshot


LIFE & COVID online study

A new study on lifestyle and COVID-19 has been launched by the Diabetes Study Center of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich under PD Dr. Andreas Lechner. The extent to which lifestyle factors, such as diet and exercise, influence the severity of the disease course will be determined over a period of 12 months using a maximum of four online surveys.
The team around Dr. Lechner is a Clinical Cooperation Group of the DZD partner Helmholtz Zentrum München.

Tests for Antibodies in Existing Studies

Area-wide antibody tests against the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 can help to obtain realistic values for the prevalence of infection with the pathogen. Researchers of the established screening study "Fr1da plus", which test children in Bavaria for early stages of type 1 diabetes, are now incorporating these tests directly into their investigations. Together with an existing network of about 600 pediatric and adolescent practitioners and under the direction of the DZD partner Helmholtz Zentrum München, they could now also be able to test up to 65,000 blood samples from the Fr1da-plus study for the presence of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2.

In addition, partner sites of the DZD are involved in research projects to better determine the prevalence of infection with the pathogen and to improve the diagnosis of COVID-19 by using cohorts, e.g. KORA (Cooperative Health Research in the Augsburg Region) and the German National Cohort (GNC) for epidemiological questions, starting the Prospective COVID-19 Cohort Munich and developing assays for the detection of antibodies against COVID-19. The Diabetes Patient History Documentation (DPV) will also record whether people with diabetes are affected by COVID-19.


Information About Corona and Diabetes at

Especially in these times it is important that people with diabetes receive reliable and scientifically proven information. For this purpose, the national diabetes information portal has set up the Diabetes and Coronavirus section with current information and answers to frequently asked questions about diabetes and corona.  

Source: Screenshot (In Graphic: Learn more about the corona virus Sars-Cov-2 and what to consider regarding diabetes.)


Diabetes and Covid-19: Two Current Publications

In a Nature Reviews Endocrinology "Comment", authors from the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD), the Boston Children's Hospital and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health call for more research into the links between obesity, disproportionate fat distribution and impaired metabolic health and the severity of COVID-19.
Original publication:
Stefan N, Birkenfeld AL, Schulze MB, Ludwig DS. Obesity and impaired metabolic health in patients with COVID-19. Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2020,

An international panel of experts in the field of diabetes and endocrinology - including researchers from the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD) - have developed practical recommendations for managing diabetes during the pandemic and published them in 'Lancet Diabetes Endocrinology' (Personal View). 
Original publication:
Bornstein et al: Practical recommendations for the management of diabetes in patients with COVID-19. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol. 2020 Apr 23. pii: S2213-8587(20)30152-2. DOI: 10.1016/S2213-8587(20)30152-2.