Are estrogen and progesterone hormones saving women from coronavirus?
According to trends men are dying more than women due to COVID 19. While the reason remains a mystery or rather an open question, the United States over the last two days have described trails that might find out the reason behind this. It is touted that the answer lies in two sex hormones in women – estrogen and progesterone.
What is the fatality rate in men and women
Various reports from countries across the world have indicated that men are more vulnerable than women to COVID-19. Chinese researcher in mid-February analyzed data from Chine including Wuhan and Hubei and found that men have a fatality rate of 2.8 per cent and women have 1.7 per cent. Since then, other countries like Italy, South Korea, Germany, Iran, France and the UK have also released data indicating at same pattern.
The UK’s national statistics office suggested that men were twice as likely as women to die of the novel coronavirus. Australia’s Health Department suggested that the death rate among men between the age of 70-90 is more. About India, the health ministry has not released sex-aggregated data on global pandemic and deaths.
What do theories say?
There are various causes cited for this reason. A possibility isn’t ruled out that women’s sex hormones help them fight the infection better than men. Among other theories related to biology, the fact can be drawn that a women’s genetic makeup consists of two X chromosomes. A man has only one X chromosome. The inference is that women are better equipped to mount an immune as a response because X chromosomes contain most of the genes related to the immune system.
Other theories suggest that it also depends on lifestyle and perceptions. Men are likelier to smoke and take risks, which could include not taking enough precautions against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Two teams in the United States are testing the theory if the estrogen and progesterone help women fight COVID-19 better. One team at Stony Brook University in New York has already started treating male patients with mild doses of estrogen. The second team at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles is planning to conduct trials with progesterone on coronavirus infected men.
A counter to these speculations tell that most estrogen and progesterone hormones are produced in a woman’s body during reproductive age. The level of both hormones fall after menopause. So, if these hormones were responsible for lower fatality rate, then the trend should not have been the same in the case of older women. Overall, older women have shown better survival rate than elderly men.
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