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REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 5-9

Gender disparity in COVID-19: Role of sex steroid hormones


St Johns Research Institute and St Johns Medical College, St Johns National Academy of Health Sciences, Bangalore-560034. Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Jyothi S Prabhu
St Johns Research Institute and St Johns Medical College, St Johns National Academy of Health Sciences, Bangalore-560034. Karnataka
India
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Source of Support: Jyothi S Prabhu is an awardee of the DBT Wellcome India Alliance clinical and public health intermediate fellowship (Grant no. IA/ CPHI/18/1/503938). Anuja Lipsa received post-doctoral fellowship from the above mentioned grant, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1995-7645.304293

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The emerging pandemic of COVID-19 caused by the novel pathogenic human coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has caused significant morbidity and mortality across the globe, prompting the scientific world to search for preventive measures to interrupt the disease process. Demographic data indicates gender-based differences in COVID-19 morbidity with better outcome amongst females. Disparity in sex-dependent morbidity and mortality in COVID-19 patients may be attributed to difference in levels of sex steroid hormones -androgens and estrogens. Evidence suggests that apart from the regulation of viral host factors, immunomodulatory and cardioprotective roles exerted by estrogen and progesterone may provide protection to females against COVID-19. Exploring the underlying mechanisms and beneficial effects of these hormones as an adjuvant to existing therapy may be a step towards improving the outcomes. This article aims to review studies demonstrating the role of sex steroidal hormones in modulating SARS-CoV-2 host factors and summarize plausible biological reasons for sex-based differences seen in COVID-19 mortality.


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