COVID-19 is an equal opportunity virus that can affect anyone, though certain groups are affected more than others. Current research shows that young men under 70 with strong male characteristics such as scalp balding and increased body hair are more susceptible to COVID-19. It is proposed that this is a result of the male hormone, androgen, which could allow the virus a gateway to affect cells. 

Dr. Carlos Wambiert, Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Brown University Warren Alpert Medical School, believes that men with strong male characteristics produce more androgens, making them more vulnerable to infection or death. Postmenopausal women are also at risk because their bodies produce less estrogen and more androgen. Dr. Wambiert says that females with COVID-19 have proven to show signs of female hair loss caused by excess hormones, which further supports the theory of the relationship between androgens and the virus. 

By the time people reach their 70s or 80s, men and women reach an equal risk of COVID-19 infection. Many men take medication that reduces the abundance of androgens and prevents hair loss, but researchers have not concluded if this makes them more or less susceptible to COVID-19.

Guest:

  • Dr. Carlos Wambier, Assistant Professor of Dermatology, Brown University Warren Alpert Medical School

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