Article published in the magazine today science Based on biological gender analysis, the difference in immune response to covid-19. This phenomenon is not unique to the coronavirus, but this pandemic highlights the need to better understand it.
“The evidence is clear: From a constitutional point of view, women are the stronger sex.” This term belongs to anthropologists Ashley Montagu They illustrate the fact that women of any age can survive better than men. The reasons are both social and biological. For example, a woman’s immune system can better fight viruses and bacteria.
During the coronavirus pandemic, these differences became obvious: the risk of death from covid-19 Men are 1.7 times higher than women. Do clinical trials of vaccines and therapies take this into consideration?
Two researchers from Yale University (USA) published an opinion article in the journal today science Analyze this problem.The author criticizes Gender differences Scientific research does not consider the immune response, so neither covid-19 nor other infectious diseases require a better understanding of the immune response.
The co-author of the text explained to SINC: “In many studies, no sex-disaggregated data have been reported or analyzed.” Akiko Iwasaki. “Many diseases are different in men and women, and only when gender is considered as a variable can we understand the mechanisms behind these variations. [en los ensayos]”.
Iwasaki is worried that for this reason, we are not looking for the big picture to find treatment method Against covid-19. “If we do not study the effects of a drug in men and women, we may lose key data on the dosage and timing that may be more suitable for men or women.” He believes that in extreme cases, certain products are “only for one This gender is beneficial or safe”.
The authors recalled in their article that men “tend to show a lower immune response and greater sensitivity and vulnerability to infection”, while the immune response is “stronger in women” leading to immunopathology Appeared.
The concentration range of this sexual dimorphism is Cytokines After activation T lymphocytes. The question is: why? Iwasaki pointed out the main suspect: Sex chromosomes with Hormones. Women’s extra X chromosomes (although partially inactivated) can increase the expression of immune genes, but estrogen levels seem to play a role in the body’s response to pathogens.
“A lot of research shows that ACE2 [la puerta que utiliza el coronavirus para entrar en nuestras células] The author explained. “In contrast, androgen suppression therapy for prostate cancer has been shown to reduce the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection.”
Doubt is more important than certainty
We have some problems, and Iwasaki firmly believes that there is still a long way to go.The article recalled that little is known about people with sexual development disorders and people’s immune responses to viral infections Transgender. “Overall, the situation for covid-19 may be different.”
Iwasaki believes that we must not forget “Women pregnant And infants are excluded from the phase 3 clinical trials of mRNA vaccines.” Therefore, he believes that it will be “very important” to understand the “safety and effectiveness” of this population.
Iwasaki said: “There are many questions about coronaviruses that move around biology.” These range from susceptibility to pathogens to persistent symbiosis. “We need to understand why there are differences,” whether they are caused by genes related to the X chromosome, hormones or metabolites. Ultimately, “we should not forget the sociological and behavioral differences between men and women” may also play a role in making them more susceptible to COVID-19.