COVID-19 vaccine: Will it be equally effective for men and women?


There have been quite a few developments on the COVID-19 vaccine front recently with Russia launching Sputnik V, India gearing up to come up with Covishield soon and many others being in various stages of clinical trials. However, the response to vaccines may vary between men and women, suggests one school of thought. This is probably because men’s immune response to the coronavirus may be weaker than that of women, as suggested by a recent study published in the journal Nature. This research, which explores the gender difference in immune response, finds that women’s immune cells act faster and in a stronger way than those of their male counterparts. According to the researchers of this study, a possible reason behind this difference could be the fact a woman’s body is equipped to protect her newborn or unborn child from germs. Also Read – Disposable surgical face masks provide best protection from COVID-19, cloth ones just 60 per cent

Efficacy of COVID-19 vaccine in men and women: What does the study say?

The authors of the Nature journal study found that women produce more T-cells than men. These immune cells play an instrumental role in fighting any infection including COVID-19. They also influence the spread of an infection. The researchers also found that men, especially those belonging to the older population, had a very weak T-cell response and suffer from more severe forms of the COVID-19 infection. Older women, on the other hand (90-year-olds), showed impressive immune response, they observed. These findings led the study authors to speculate that while one shot of vaccine may be enough for younger men and women, older men may need three doses. However, further research is required to reach a conclusive opinion about the difference in efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines in men and women. Also Read – Coronavirus could rise up through toilet pipes: Traces of SARS-CoV-2 found in unoccupied apartment

What makes men more vulnerable to COVID-19 infection?

A growing body of research suggests that men are actually the ‘weaker’ sex, not women. This is because, their immune system has been found to be weaker than that of their female counterparts, suggest evidences from around the world. However, weak defence mechanism isn’t the only factor that makes men more vulnerable to the COVID-19 infection than women. There are several reasons behind this gender difference while it comes to falling prey to the novel coronavirus. Here, we guide you on them. Also Read – COVID-19 Live Updates: Cases in India surge to 33,10,234 as death toll reaches 60,472

Male pattern baldness: A research conducted at the Brown University, US, found that baldness increases the risk of men catching severe COVID-19 symptoms. The observations of this study suggest that the male hormone that leads to baldness could be one of the favourite entry points for the novel coronavirus. Various other studies have also observed that a significant proportion of COVID-19 patients were bald.

Smoking: This is a lifestyle habit more common in men than women. Research suggests that smoking increases the number of ACE2 receptors in the lungs of a man, the favourite entry point of the novel coronavirus. ACE 2 receptor is a protein that the virus needs while it comes to entering the human body.

Genes: Unlike women, men have only one X chromosome in each cell. This is one of the factors that makes the male population more vulnerable to COVID-19 infection than women.

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