New research looks at why it seems like severe COVID-19 is striking men harder than women.
WEDNESDAY, April 29, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- New research adds to a growing body of evidence that suggests men are far more vulnerable to severe COVID-19 than women are.
Although both genders fall ill in the same numbers, men are 2.5 times more likely to get severe disease and die, the study from China showed.
The finding comes as scientists in New York and California are starting to test a novel hypothesis that sex hormones might play a part in disease severity.
Last week, doctors on Long Island started treating COVID-19 patients with estrogen to boost their immune systems, The New York Times reported. And beginning next week, physicians in Los Angeles will start treating male patients with progesterone, a hormone that is predominantly found in women. Progesterone has anti-inflammatory properties and might prevent the immune system from overreacting, the researchers explained.
"There's a striking difference between the number of men and women in the intensive care unit, and men are clearly doing worse," Dr. Sara Ghandehari, a pulmonologist and intensive care physician at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, told the Times. She is the principal investigator for the progesterone study.