Bald men at higher risk of having severe coronavirus, shocking new research suggests
Researchers believe the link is so strong that they have called for baldness to be listed as a risk factor called the ‘Gabrin sign’ This is after Dr Frank Gabrin, the first US physician to die of coronavirus, who was also bald. Lead author of the study, Professor Carlos Wambier of Brown University, told The Telegraph: “We really think that baldness is a perfect predictor of severity.”
Recently scientists have hypothesised that coronavirus is more deadlier for men due than women because of testosterone.
Italian doctors have previously found patients given androgen deprivation therapy, which radically cuts testosterone levels, were four times less likely to die from coronavirus.
A protein, TMPRSS2, is driven up by testosterone and scientists think the virus could use this protein to help it unlock cells.
Researchers at London’s Institute for Cancer Research are examining the link further, whilst the University of California, Los Angeles is looking at testosterone-blocking therapy to help with coronavirus treatment.
Testosterone can produce dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which can lead to hair loss.
Though as per South China Morning Post, it is possible to have low levels of testosterone but high levels of DHT.
The further data on baldness further raises the possibility that treatments that cut testosterone could be used to slow the virus down.
Discussions have taken place about a trial using baldness drugs to treat coronavirus.
A study of 122 patients in three Madrid hospitals found 79 percent of the men were bald.
Howard Soule, executive vice president at the Prostate Cancer Foundation, told Science Magazine: “Everybody is chasing a link between androgens and the outcome of Covid-19.”
Karen Stalbow, Head of Policy at Prostate Cancer UK, said: “There have been several recent pieces of research which indicate there may be a link between male hormones and increased risk of Covid-19.
“This has led some researchers to investigate whether hormone therapies commonly used to treat prostate cancer, such as enzalutamide, could reduce this risk.
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“However, most of the research so far has been in the lab, and there is conflicting evidence over whether the hormone therapies have the same impact in the lungs as they would in prostate cells.
“There are now several clinical studies starting which hope to address these issues, but much more evidence is needed before we can know whether these hormone therapies would be an effective treatment for Covid-19.”
Professor Nick James of the Institute for Cancer Research has warned against using testosterone cutting treatment as a preventive measure due to their severe side effects.
He explained to the Mail on Sunday: “Being on these drugs is the male equivalent of going through the menopause.
“You would almost certainly cause more harm than good.”
According to the NHS, the following people are considered clinically extremely vulnerable: people who have had an organ transplant, people undergoing chemotherapy or antibody treatment for cancer, intense radiotherapy, cancer treatments which affect the immune system, people who have blood or bone marrow cancer, those have had a bone marrow or stem cell transplant in the previous six months, or are still taking immunosuppressant medicine, those with a severe lung condition, those with a condition which puts them at high risk of infection or taking medicines which makes them more likely to do so and expecting mothers with heart conditions.
The list of people are considered at moderate risk includes: Those over 70, expecting mothers, those who have lung conditions which are not severe, those with heart disease, diabetics, those with chronic kidney disease, those with liver disease, those with a condition affecting the brain or nerves and those who are obese.
Previously, environmental factors were hypothesised as being behind the higher risk to men.
This includes the fact men are more likely to be smokers.
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