Possible long-term endocrine-metabolic complications in COVID-19: lesson from the SARS model.

Endocrine. 2020;68(3):467-470

Plain language summary

Coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Little is known about how it affects the endocrine system and it is likely that some patients who have recovered may suffer long-term consequences. The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) that caused the SARS outbreak in 2003 has many similarities. This editorial looks at the possible effects on the endocrine system of SARS-CoV-2 by looking at the long-term effects seen in SARS. In the case of SARS-CoV, it was thought that the virus could directly damage pancreatic cells leading to type 2 diabetes. It is hypothesized that Covid-19 patients could develop this condition by the same mechanism. Although no study on SARS reported the link between obesity and higher mortality rate, there is evidence that obese Covid-19 patients have worse clinical outcomes. There is no data yet for Covid-19, but adrenal insufficiency and impaired thyroid function were shown in some cases of SARS. To identify and treat any possible long-term effects of Covid-19, endocrinologists should monitor hormone levels and metabolic functions.


The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), is centralizing the interest of the scientific world. In the next months, long-term consequences on the endocrine system may arise following COVID-19. In this article, we hypothesized the effects of SARS-CoV-2 taking into account what learned from the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) that caused SARS in 2003.

Lifestyle medicine

Fundamental Clinical Imbalances : Hormonal ; Immune and inflammation
Patient Centred Factors : Triggers/Covid-19
Environmental Inputs : Microorganisms
Personal Lifestyle Factors : Not applicable
Functional Laboratory Testing : Blood

Methodological quality

Jadad score : Not applicable
Allocation concealment : Not applicable
Publication Type : Editorial