The Business Insider: Most coronavirus long-haulers are women. That may be because they mount a stronger immune response to the virus.
Since the onset of the pandemic, it has been widely reported that men got hit harder by coronavirus than women did. Men have almost three times the odds of requiring intensive-care treatment for COVID-19 than women and 1.4 times the odds of dying from the disease. However, women may have a harder time recovering after a SARS-CoV-2 infection. According to Noah Greenspan, a physical therapist who runs a pulmonary rehabilitation center in New York City, 85% of long-haulers who signed up to manage their symptoms were women. This imbalance is fuelled by a hypothesis which states that women seem to mount a stronger T-cell response to the virus than men, which helps their immune systems identify and destroy it. This can save their lives, but it’s a double-edged sword since an overly robust T-cell response can lead the immune system to attack itself. Moreover, coronavirus long-haulers often display characteristics of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), a disorder known clinically as myalgic encephalomyelitis and among long-haulers, women with CFS roughly outnumber men four to one. Studies have also suggested that CFS may activate microglia — tiny cells that can trigger inflammation in the central nervous system, ultimately leading to the impairment of brain function, resulting in a lack of energy, confusion, or poor focus. With the absence of a foolproof cure, physical therapy and anti-inflammatory drugs remain the primary form of treatment to help alleviate patients’ long-haul symptoms. Read the full article here