DURBAN – From the onset, the coronavirus has perplexed researchers and doctors with its behaviour, in terms of symptoms, response to treatments and many other factors. However, one thing that has remained consistent so far, is the fact that this virus hits men harder than women.
Now, a group of researchers suggest that men with male pattern baldness (or androgenic alopecia) are more likely to develop severe Covid-19. The link has been proposed on the basis of two different studies on patients in Spain.
The researchers are calling this risk factor the ‘Gabrin’s sign’ after Dr Frank Gabrin, the first US physician to die of Covid-19. Dr Gabrin had androgenic alopecia and he was also fighting bilateral testicular cancer.
Lead author Dr Carlos Wambier said, “We think androgens or male hormones are definitely the gateways for the virus to enter our cells. We really think baldness is a perfect predictor of severity.”
Wambier and his team conducted two studies in Spain. The results of one of those studies, published in the American Academy of Dermatology, reviewed 122 Covid-19 positive men who were admitted to hospitals in Madrid. The findings revealed that 79 percent of them were bald.
The second study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology also found that 71 percent of Covid-19 patients they reviewed had male pattern baldness. However, no conclusive opinion can be drawn out of these findings.
A similar correlation was found in the study among the smaller numbers of women with hair loss linked to androgens. Other scientists said that more work needed to be done, but we’re excited by the potential link.
“Everybody is chasing a link between androgens and the outcome of Covid-19,” said Howard Soule, executive vice president at the Prostate Cancer Foundation.
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