Sex differences in COVID-19: the role of androgens in disease severity and progression

    November 2020 in “Endocrine
    Mohamed S. Mohamed, Thiago C. Moulin, Helgi B. Schiöth
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    TLDR Male hormones like testosterone may make COVID-19 worse, and testing for sensitivity to these hormones could help predict how severe a patient's symptoms might be. Treatments that reduce these hormones are being explored.
    The mini-review "Sex differences in COVID-19: the role of androgens in disease severity and progression" suggests that androgens, like testosterone, may facilitate the entry of the SARS-CoV2 virus into host cells by promoting the transcription of Transmembrane protease serine 2 (TMPRSS2), a protein used by the virus for entry. Variants in the androgen receptor gene, associated with conditions like androgenetic alopecia and prostate cancer, have been linked to worse COVID-19 outcomes. The paper concludes that androgen sensitivity could be a key factor in determining COVID-19 disease severity, and sensitivity tests might help predict patient outcomes. Ongoing clinical trials are exploring androgen suppression therapies as a potential COVID-19 treatment, but these preliminary results should be interpreted with caution.
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