Will my hormones protect me from Coronavirus?
Updated: Jul 1, 2020
It's perhaps time we started thanking our bodes for sending us on a rollercoaster of emotions each month. It's a wild ride, but scientists are saying it could be a good thing during this pandemic...
Scientists are saying that oestrogen might play a role in helping to protect us from COVID-19.
Men are being killed by COVID-19 at nearly twice the rate women are in some places. Its been seen in New York, China and Italy.
Now, of course, there are behavioural differences, like smoking, the likelihood of going to the doctor when your poorly, all of these things could also explain why men are being affected more.
It's a fact that men are less likely to wash their hands, which suggests they are more likely to be infected by the virus anyway.
Last week doctors in New York started treating Covid-19 patients with oestrogen to try to increase their immune systems, and new week physicians in LA will start treating male patients with another hormone found in that's mainly found in women, progesterone, which has anti-inflammatory properties ( so it can stop overreactions of your immune system). Pretty helpful, in theory to COVID-19.
There are plenty of scientists out there who don't agree that oestrogen plays a role – many have pointed out that older women are still less likely to die from coronavirus than men, even though their hormone levels are significantly lower than younger women. It could be that hormones might not actually be the magic bullet that we are hoping for - so we might just be giving these men moobs for no reason.
Women have more robust immune systems the causes are stupidly complex...so hormones might only be part of the picture.
So scientists have started to look into the effects of giving cis men oestrogen and progesterone.
So far, all of the coronavirus studies have focused on the differences in infection rates in men and women, but it's not clear if that trans men and women are included or excluded in this, and whether the impact of coronavirus on non-binary or intersex people has actually been considered at all.
It's a tricky area because researching the way that trans people are impacted by coronavirus would need to account for healthcare disparities too. For example, trans women who have access to hormone replacement therapy will have higher levels of female sex hormones than trans women who don't have access to that or don't want it.
There are so many people on twitter that have pointed out the glaring disparity between trans women's access to oestrogen, historically, and the access cis men are now being given this to the medication because of coronavirus.
Multiple other people have pointed out that shortages of hormones are already a huge problem within trans healthcare, and if the US is going to start using estrogen patches on men to combat corona, then trans women are going to start running out really bloody fast.
I'm personally not sure if oestrogen is going to be the bullet doctors are hoping for, however, I'm no virologist. I'm not 100% sure how coronavirus works either, so if there's a chance this could save lives then it could be worth a shot.