Scientists are conducting clinical trials in which they dose men who have the coronavirus with female sex hormones as a possible treatment, as data continues to show that males have a higher chance than females of dying from coronavirus complications, The New York Times reported Tuesday. Doctors in New York last week started treating male coronavirus patients with estrogen, and clinicians in Los Angeles will begin dosing men with progesterone next week to test how the hormones might boost the immune system to fight the virus. “There’s a striking difference between the number of men and women in the intensive care unit, and men are clearly doing worse,” Dr. Sara Ghandehari, an intensive care physician at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, told the Times. Ghandehari said 75 percent of intensive care patients are men, and pregnant women with high levels of sex hormones typically have non-threatening symptoms if they do get coronavirus. There was something about being pregnant that “is protective,” the doctor told the Times.
However, Dr. Sabra Klein, a scientist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said that since elderly men are “still disproportionately affected,” it suggests that “it’s got to be something genetic, or something else, that’s not just hormonal.” She added, “if women are better at recovery at 93 years old, I doubt it’s hormones.”