Women are significantly more likely to suffer from “prolonged COVID,” it has been found, and tend to have a very different set of symptoms than men.
New research found that women were 22 percent more likely than men to be affected by the long-term form of the disease, with symptoms lasting two years in some cases.
An analysis of 35 publications on long-term COVID, with data from approximately 1.3 million patients, found that “female patients were much more likely to have mood disorders such as depression, ear, nose and throat symptoms, musculoskeletal pain and respiratory symptoms”.
Male patients, on the other hand, were more likely to have endocrine disorders, namely COVID-induced diabetes and kidney disease.
These findings complicate our understanding of ‘long-term COVID’ – it seems to act like two different diseases. This could lead to more effective treatments.
As the study authors of the Johnson & Johnson Office of the Chief Medical Officer Health of Women advise: “Knowledge about fundamental sex differences underlying the clinical manifestations, disease progression and health outcomes of COVID-19 is critical to identifying and rational design of effective therapies and public health interventions that are inclusive and sensitive to the potential differential treatment needs of both sexes.”
Why is this happening?
About a year after the pandemic, women reported more side effects as COVID-19 vaccines went into millions of arms.
On the plus side, they tended to produce more antibodies and a reasonable assumption that they would enjoy longer protection than males.
A 2021 report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) examined safety data for the first 13.7 million COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. and found that 79.1 percent of people reporting side effects were women. Goods.
Why? Because women are built to have stronger immune responses than men.
However, as the authors suggest, this stronger immune response likely causes gender differences in ‘long COVID’ syndrome.
“Women develop faster and more robust innate and adaptive immune responses, which may protect them from initial infection and severity,” the authors write.
“However, this same difference may make women more vulnerable to long-term autoimmune diseases.”
The trend could have been picked up sooner.
The researchers say there were red flags about differences in the course of the disease in men and women.
“many studies have examined sex differences in hospitalization, ICU admission, ventilator support, and mortality.”
But research into the specific conditions caused by the virus and its long-term damage to the body has been “undervalued when it comes to sex.”
On the one hand, health professionals and researchers are overwhelmed by the complexity of COVID-19 and the number of wildfires.
On the other hand, gender differences in outcomes have been “reported during previous coronavirus outbreaks”.
The authors say differences in outcomes between women and men infected with SARS-CoV-2 “could have been expected.”