Scientists at the American Cedars-Sinai Medical Center have proposed a new approach to treating men with COVID-19 infection using female hormones.
The risk of contracting the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in men and women is the same. However, men with this infection end up in the intensive care unit 2.84 times more often than women, and their risk of death is 1.39 times higher. Back in April last year, Cedars-Sinai scientists suggested that gender differences in disease outcomes may be partly related to the protective effect of female sex hormones, so they could possibly be used to treat men.
Researchers have relied on progesterone, a female hormone that has anti-inflammatory properties and has the potential to prevent cytokine storms and reduce the likelihood of acute respiratory distress syndrome.
To test the hypothesis, scientists conducted a study involving 42 men hospitalized with moderate to severe COVID-19. The volunteers were divided into two groups: in the first group patient received 100 ml of progesterone twice a day in the form of injections, in the second – standard therapy. The observations were carried out for 15 days.
In men who received progesterone, there was an improvement in clinical status by 1.5 points from baseline compared with the control group. In 14 men in the progesterone group, clinical indicators improved by 70%, while in the control group, positive dynamics was recorded only in 7 patients.
Besides, during the first 7 days of the study, the cumulative likelihood of clinical improvement was 0.76 among 20 men receiving progesterone, compared with 0.55 among 22 people in the placebo group.
These data suggest that administration of progesterone may represent a safe and effective approach to the treatment of COVID-19 in men.