The pandemic has created tremendous uncertainty in the global health field due to the lack of knowledge about the discovery of a new infectious pathogen. As the research work progresses, more and more evidence and information is coming to light and it will enable action to be taken to prevent the most serious cases. The latest study developed by Florida International University, FIU, has concluded that women who have just given birth, are menopausal or have certain medical conditions are more likely to contract COVID.
"Women who have just given birth, menopausal women and possibly women with polycystic ovary syndrome appear to be more vulnerable" commented researcher Carolyn Runowicz, who is with FIU's Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, in the report.
Chitra Gotluru and Allison Roach, senior medical students at FIU's Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, participated in the paper. In the process, they analyzed more than a hundred other studies, the conclusions of which will be published in March in the journal 'Obstetrics and Gynecology'. During their documentation, they were able to observe which conditions led to higher mortality in some women.
The young researchers discovered that there's a link between the lethality of the virus and women around the age of 50. This coincides with "the age of menopause" and a decrease in hormone levels. The project manager also mentions a reference in which sex hormones play a role in favor of women, as well as having two X chromosomes which helps to fight infections more effectively.
"It appears that estrogen, and possibly progesterone, may have a protective effect in women, which is lost at menopause" she commented. Early findings determined through the study revealed that some of the most severe episodes of coronavirus in women occur in those who have just given birth.
This occurs because after bringing a baby into the world, mothers have high estrogen and progesterone levels, although the latter decreases once delivery is complete. Another condition that has an influence is that of those patients who suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome, which also makes them prone to contracting the disease. The reason for this is that it makes them more vulnerable to risk factors derived from the cardiovascular field, such as high blood pressure or diabetes.
The study comments that these patients also have high levels of androgens, sex hormones that tend to have a greater presence in the male gender since they give men their physical characteristics. "We found that in countries that had data on men and women, men die from COVID twice as often as women," says Gotluru.
One of the most mediatic COVID studies is the one published by the University of Haifa, in Israel, which proves the susceptibility and infectivity of the virus in children. According to the research, children under 20 are half as susceptible to COVID infection as those over this age. The paper demonstrates its ability to infect others, but it's also potentially less than that of other strata of the population.
Another paper written by health experts at Kansas State University, USA, determines the capacity for reinfection, although their sampling was done on cats. The results obtained concluded that the cats were re-infected with the virus 21 days after the first infection, which indicated the re-infection capacity of the chemical agent, but also showed that the animals could not transmit it so easily in the second episode.