Could Estrogen Protect Women From COVID-19?

Roxanna Pirhadi, Vikram Sinai Talaulikar, Joseph Onwude, Isaac Manyonda

Abstract


The apparent gender differences in favor of women in the risk of contracting and dying from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), and the fact that such trends have also been observed in recent epidemics including severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), have prompted the obvious question: Are the reasons life-style or biological? True, women generally make healthier lifestyle choices as compared to men. Women do not smoke or drink as much as men, and they have a lower burden of those diseases (heart disease, diabetes or chronic lung conditions) that are known to be significant factors in the higher death rates among men with COVID-19. But there is compelling evidence for a role for biological factors. Genes are likely to play an important role. The X chromosome, of which women possess two, contains the largest number of immune-related genes of the whole human genome, theoretically giving women double the advantage over men in mounting an efficient and rapid immune response. A fundamental difference between women and men is their hormonal milieu, and it is not unreasonable to suppose that the dominant female hormone estrogen could influence the response to infection. In this paper we evaluate the evidence and mechanisms by which estrogen could provide protection to women from a variety of viruses, perhaps including the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.




J Clin Med Res. 2020;12(10):634-639
doi: https://doi.org/10.14740/jocmr4303

Keywords


COVID-19; Coronavirus; Infection; Estrogen; Protection

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