This Covid-19 Drug is Allegedly Only Effective in Men

Study finds a Covid-19 drug that only works on men.

REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, JAKARTA — The Covid-19 virus still haunts many places and there is a lot of research being developed to prevent it from getting worse. For coronavirus patients with severe lung infections, so far the standard treatment is dexamethasone. While steroids are used for a variety of conditions including arthritis, severe allergies, inflammation, and asthma.

However, a new study published in Nature by a team of researchers at the University of Calgary found that the drug may indeed have an effect in treating Covid-19. But the drugs likely only work in men.

Reported from Quartz, Sunday (20/11), according to guidelines from the US National Institute of Health (NIH), the use of dexamethasone in patients with severe Covid-19 is often done for hospitalized patients who require supplemental oxygen. This is because the drug helps reduce the inflammation that is often associated with the condition. This drug is given intravenously once a day for up to 10 days.

The NIH recommends against taking dexamethasone when the patient does not require supplemental oxygen, as he or she does not see a significant benefit in such cases. But the study found another situation where dexamethasone did not appear to bring more benefit when the patient was a woman.

Why is dexamethasone not effective for women?

The reason behind the different results is a result of the way Covid-19 develops in men and women. The researchers observed that interferon, a protein that normally acts quickly to treat viral infections, drips in severe Covid-19 infections, staying in the system and causing severe inflammation in patients. It is during this inflammatory state that organ damage is more likely to occur.

Dexamethasone reduces the body’s reaction to interferon, and as a result, it calms inflammation. But studies have found that male and female patients have different reactions to interferon, and men have a much stronger inflammatory reaction to it. In women, on the other hand, inflammation is much lower, so dexamethasone has little effect in improving the overall clinical situation.

“Right now, perhaps the mainstay of therapy for severe Covid-19 that we are giving everyone is only beneficial for half the population. This is a huge problem,” said Bryan Yipp, professor of pulmonary immunology at the University of Calgary in a statement.

According to Yipp, these findings should inform a better approach to individualized treatment and therapy than other approaches.

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