Bald men appear to have a higher incidence of death after infection from COVID-19 than non-bald men, research shows. Male pattern baldness tends to cause high levels of male sex hormones, or androgens, which are now thought to be involved with how COVID-19 enters the body.
At least that’s the best guess scientists currently have for why bald men die from coronavirus. On top of that, androgens also seem to boost the mechanisms of coronavirus for attacking human cells.Baldness treatments suppress androgens, meaning they could help in fighting COVID-19.
Brown University professor Carlos Wambier called baldness “a perfect predictor or severity” after researching the link between baldness and COVID-19. His prediction is that androgens are a gateway to coronavirus entering human cells.
If it turns out to be true, the risk factor would be named the “Gabrin sign.” Frank Gabrin was the first frontlines doctor in the US to die of coronavirus. Currently, clinical trials looking into the connection between baldness and COVID-19 using baldness and prostate cancer drugs have already begun.
The Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology published a small study in Spain led by Wambier with results showing that 79 percent of men entering three Madrid hospitals with coronavirus were bald.
The link between androgen and coronavirus was also found in an Italian prostate cancer study. Participants in the study who received androgen-deprivation therapy were only a fourth as likely to contract coronavirus as participants using other treatments.
While more evidence is needed to confirm the connection, the results of these studies suggest that androgens increase the potency of the virus, making COVID-19 cases more severe in men.
Other studies have revealed that, aside from baldness, men are more vulnerable to COVID-19 than women in general. In late April, the results of a Chinese study showed men as two and a half times more likely to die of coronavirus.