Estrogen and COVID-19: Is there a link?
Estrogen and COVID-19: Is there a link?

Estrogen and COVID-19: Is there a link?

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Is there a correlation between estrogen and COVID-19 severity? Antonio Garcia Recena / Getty Images
  • Some previous studies suggest that estrogen may play a role in the severity of COVID-19.
  • A recent observational study led by researchers from the University Hospital in Umeå in Sweden suggests that higher levels of estrogen may protect against COVID-19 mortality.
  • If clinical trials repeat the results, this may help design hormone-based prophylactic treatments for COVID-19.

The link between a higher level of estrogen and a lower risk of COVID-19 mortality remains of interest to the scientific community.

A recent study takes a new look at the link between the hormone and the COVID-19 results. Their results are displayed in the journal BMJ open.

The study’s senior author, Dr. Anne-Marie Fors Connollytold a clinical researcher at Umeå University Medical news today:

“The results of this particular study showed that postmenopausal women who took estrogen had a lower risk of dying from COVID-19 than those who did not take supplemental estrogen. It is an exciting result that definitely warrants further study. For example. previous research that examined possible treatments for COVID-19 also cited estrogen as a potential therapeutic agent. ”

An earlier examination found that women have a lower risk of severe SARS-CoV-2 infection. The team also found that older women who took or had taken hormone therapy were less likely to get the infection than women with age match who had never taken hormone therapy.

These and similar results have led some scientists to question whether estrogen may play a role in future treatment options.

Estrogen is a hormone associated with the female reproductive system. When menopause begins, the ovaries produce less estrogen.

The new study analyzed national data from the Swedish Public Health Authority, Statistics Sweden and the National Board of Health and Welfare. The researchers collected data from February 4 to September 14, 2020.

The data came from 49,853 women who had received a COVID-19 diagnosis during this time frame. Of those, 16,693 were aged 50-80 years.

The researchers focused on a group of 14,685 women with at least one positive SARS-CoV-2 test. Among this group, 227 women took estrogen blockers to prevent cancer recurrence, and 2,535 took hormone therapy to boost estrogen levels. The remaining 11,923 women took no treatments to affect hormone levels and served as a control group.

After adjusting for risk factors, including age, income, and medical history, women who received estrogen had a 53% lower chance of dying from COVID-19 compared to women who did not receive hormone therapy.

Participants taking estrogen blockers were twice as likely to die from COVID-19 in the initial analysis. However, after the team adjusted the data for other factors, this difference was not statistically significant.

As expected, the researchers also found that age represented an important factor in COVID-19 survival: Mortality odds increased by 15% for each year they aged. Similarly, each additional medical condition increased the mortality rates by 13%.

The results also showed that people with a higher income had an advantage. Women from the lowest income households were three times more likely to die from COVID-19 than those from the highest income households.

From a clinical perspective, these findings could shed light on future treatment options. Dr. Amy Roskintold the chief physician of The Pill Club MNT:

“The results of this particular study showed that postmenopausal women who took estrogen had a lower risk of dying from COVID-19 than those who did not take supplemental estrogen. It is an exciting result that definitely warrants further study. As clinicians I’m interested in more validation of these results, especially from a prospective, randomized study. ”

The specific mechanisms behind the results are not yet clear. “One theory is that estrogen has a protective role for COVID-19 in women. The authors believed that there could be a direct effect on viral reproduction, or estrogen could modulate, downregulate gene expression to reduce mortality,” said Dr. Roskin.

Although the study did not include data on doses of hormone replacement therapy or estrogen-blocking drugs, the researchers conclude that increased estrogen levels may help alleviate the severity of COVID-19 in postmenopausal women.

Dr. Fors Connolly concluded: “Our study is an observational study, therefore at present there should be no clinical implications, from now on. A clinical trial is needed to establish an effect. “

“Interestingly enough,” she added, “there is an ongoing one clinical trials, and our study supports the potential beneficial effect of estrogen supplementation against severe COVID-19. It will be very interesting to see what this experiment finds. “

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