Wednesday, 03 March, 2021


Scientists Decode Sex Difference in Immune Response to Coronavirus

A local child at Port Moresby Papua New Guinea READ MOREMixed reaction to Australia’s pledge to help Pacific and Asian neighbours get coronavirus vaccine
Patty Aguilar | 29 August, 2020, 15:28

Men may be more likely to suffer severe cases of coronavirus or die of the disease because they have weaker immune responses, a new study suggests.

"We now have clear data suggesting that the immune landscape in COVID-19 patients is considerably different between the sexes and that these differences may underlie heightened disease susceptibility in men", Yale Immunobiology Professor Akiko Iwasaki said in a Wednesday press release previewing the report.

Researchers collected nasal saliva and blood samples and observed key differences in the immune systems during the early phase of the infection.

USA researchers found that female patients mounted a "more robust and sustained T-cell response" than male patients when exposed to the novel coronavirus.

It added that a poor T cell response negatively correlated with patients' age and was associated with worse disease outcomes in male patients.

For males, for instance "we ought to be enhancing their T cell responses with vaccines" Iwasaki stated, whereas ladies may very well be given remedy to dampen the cytokine response.

She commented that differences that appeared between immune responses of men or women is likely to be based on their differences in age or BMI and not sex and others could have emerged by chance.

Since the start of the pandemic, most countries have reported a higher number of deaths from the new coronavirus among men than women.

The team analyzed immune responses in 17 men and 22 women who were admitted to the hospital soon after they were infected.

The researchers say this knowledge could be used by doctors to tailor their treatments for people with severe Covid-19.

Along with this, men were found to produce more of a different type of cell known as cytokines, signaling molecules that recruit immune cells to sites of inflammation. However, severe cases of COVID-19 have been linked to a "cytokine storm", when the immune system begins to overreact and pushes the body into risky and deadly conditions.

According to Eleanor Riley, a professor at the University of Edinburgh, "Although the average response may differ between men and women, the range of most of the measurements in men and women overlap significantly, meaning that many women have responses that are indistinguishable from those of many men".

However, in the early stages of infection, male patients tended to have more inflammatory proteins called cytokines than female patients.

Male pattern baldness: A research conducted at the Brown University, US, found that baldness increases the risk of men catching severe COVID-19 symptoms.

"These findings answer questions about COVID-19 that point the way toward a more effective, targeted response to this disease", Women's Health Research Director Carolyn M. Mazure told Yale Medicine. These findings led the study authors to speculate that while one shot of vaccine may be enough for younger men and women, older men may need three doses.

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