Making gender bias visible allows to fill the gaps in knowledge and understand health records and risks of women and men. The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has shown a clear gender difference in health outcomes. The more severe symptoms and higher mortality in men as compared to women are likely due to sex and age differences in immune responses. Age-associated decline in sex steroid hormone levels may mediate proinflammatory reactions in older adults, thereby increasing their risk of adverse outcomes, whereas sex hormones and/or sex hormone receptor modulators may attenuate the inflammatory response and provide benefit to COVID-19 patients. While multiple pharmacological options including anticoagulants, glucocorticoids, antivirals, anti-inflammatory agents and traditional Chinese medicine preparations have been tested to treat COVID-19 patients with varied levels of evidence in terms of efficacy and safety, information on sex-targeted treatment strategies is currently limited. Women may have more benefit from COVID-19 vaccines than men, despite the occurrence of more frequent adverse effects, and long-term safety data with newly developed vectors are eagerly awaited. The prevalent inclusion of men in randomised clinical trials (RCTs) with subsequent extrapolation of results to women needs to be addressed, as reinforcing sex-neutral claims into COVID-19 research may insidiously lead to increased inequities in health care. The huge worldwide effort with over 3,000 ongoing RCTs of pharmacological agents should focus on improving knowledge on sex, gender and age as pillars of individual variation in drug responses and enforce appropriateness.

Sex-tailored pharmacology and COVID-19: next steps towards appropriateness and health equity

Giudice, Valentina;Filippelli, Amelia;
2021

Abstract

Making gender bias visible allows to fill the gaps in knowledge and understand health records and risks of women and men. The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has shown a clear gender difference in health outcomes. The more severe symptoms and higher mortality in men as compared to women are likely due to sex and age differences in immune responses. Age-associated decline in sex steroid hormone levels may mediate proinflammatory reactions in older adults, thereby increasing their risk of adverse outcomes, whereas sex hormones and/or sex hormone receptor modulators may attenuate the inflammatory response and provide benefit to COVID-19 patients. While multiple pharmacological options including anticoagulants, glucocorticoids, antivirals, anti-inflammatory agents and traditional Chinese medicine preparations have been tested to treat COVID-19 patients with varied levels of evidence in terms of efficacy and safety, information on sex-targeted treatment strategies is currently limited. Women may have more benefit from COVID-19 vaccines than men, despite the occurrence of more frequent adverse effects, and long-term safety data with newly developed vectors are eagerly awaited. The prevalent inclusion of men in randomised clinical trials (RCTs) with subsequent extrapolation of results to women needs to be addressed, as reinforcing sex-neutral claims into COVID-19 research may insidiously lead to increased inequities in health care. The huge worldwide effort with over 3,000 ongoing RCTs of pharmacological agents should focus on improving knowledge on sex, gender and age as pillars of individual variation in drug responses and enforce appropriateness.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11386/4769089
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