Bald men appear to be at higher risk of suffering from severe coronavirus symptoms — a risk factor being named after the Big Apple man who was the first US doctor to die of the contagion, according to a hair-raising new report.
“We really think that baldness is a perfect predictor of severity,” Professor Carlos Wambier of Brown University told The Telegraph of studies appearing to show strong associations.
The link emerged during studies trying to show why men suffer worse from COVID-19 than women, the UK paper said.
Scientists now believe that androgens — male sex hormones like testosterone — may boost the ability of coronavirus to attack cells.
The same androgens are also understood to be behind baldness, making it a signal of vulnerability to the disease, the report says.
In one study, almost 80% of coronavirus patients in three Madrid hospitals were bald, according to The Telegraph.
The link is now being called the “Gabrin sign,” after the 60-year-old follically challenged ER doctor, Frank Gabrin, who died in his husband’s arms in their Harlem apartment in late March.
The alarming trend could spark a positive outcome, however: Numerous studies are seeing if treatments to suppress the hormones — ones used for prostate cancer as well as baldness — may help slow down the virus.
“Everybody is chasing a link between androgens … and the outcome of COVID-19,” Howard Soule, executive vice president at the Prostate Cancer Foundation, told Science magazine.
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