There are certain things that can lower the risk of death from the highly infectious disease COVID-19. A study has now found that estrogen, one of the main female sex hormones, has a direct link with the death of coronavirus patients. According to the study, women with higher estrogen levels are less likely to die from COVID-19. A cohort study has suggested that female sex hormones may have protective effects against severe illness. It was also found that postmenopausal women who were taking hormone replacement therapy were more than 50 per cent less likely to die from the coronavirus infection compared with those women with natural estrogen levels. The study is significant as older people are more likely to face the risk of developing severe illness after being tested positive for COVID-19.
The study, which has been published in the ‘BMJ Open’ open-access journal, said that it is worth investigating additional hormone treatment to reduce the severity of COVID-19 infection in women who have previously gone through menopause.
It was also found that women appeared to have a lower risk of severe COVID-19 infection than men even after controlling potentially important factors. This holds true even for other recent dangerous viral illnesses such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
During the study, researchers compared the effects of increasing and decreasing estrogen levels on the severity of COVID-19 infection. They did it to find the connection between the level of hormones and COVID-19 deaths. While doing so, they used the data from the Swedish Public Health Agency, Statistics Sweden and the National Board of Health and Welfare. The study involved a total of 14,685 women.
Out of these women, around 2 per cent or 227 had previously been diagnosed with breast cancer and were taking estrogen blocker drugs. The drug helps in the reduction of the risk of cancer recurrence.