Coronavirus: Bald men could be at higher risk of ‘severe’ symptoms

Others caution ‘much more evidence’ needed to support claims

Rory Sullivan
Friday 05 June 2020 14:12
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All you need to know from the latest UK coronavirus briefing

Bald men could have a higher risk of developing severe Covid-19 symptoms, new research has claimed.

Carlos Wambier, a researcher at Brown University, told the Daily Telegraph he thinks “baldness is a perfect predictor of severity” of coronavirus.

However, other medical professionals have urged caution and said much more evidence is needed to support his claim.

According to the Telegraph, Prof Wambier conducted two studies in Spain, from which he concluded that a disproportionate number of bald men were taken to hospital with the virus.

Of the 41 patients he examined in his first study, 71 per cent of them had male pattern baldness, a higher percentage than the background rate for baldness in men of a similar age.

In a further study, which was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, Professor Wambier found almost 80 per cent of 122 male Covid-19 patients in Madrid were bald.

"We think androgens or male hormones are definitely the gateway for the virus to enter our cells,” he said.

This research comes after evidence suggests that men are more likely to die from Covid-19 than women. Scientists believe that androgens, male sex hormones that can cause hair loss, could also increase the ability of the virus to attack cells.

Some researchers have therefore started to investigate whether treatments which suppress these hormones could help patients with Covid-19. Some of these therapies are used to treat diseases like prostate cancer.

But Karen Stalbow, head of policy at Prostate Cancer UK, urged caution over findings like Prof Wambier’s.

Ms Stalbow said: “There are now several clinical studies starting which hope to address these issues, but much more evidence is needed before we can know whether these hormone therapies would be an effective treatment for Covid-19.”

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