- Data collection on infected patients from the UK health service revealed that male patients have more antibodies in their plasma than women
- The presence of antibodies does not automatically mean that men are better protected than women
Women have a better immune response to infectious diseases than men. A reality recently explained by Jean-Charles Guéry, researcher at the Center for Physiopathology of the University of Toulouse III-Paul Sabatier, with Inserm and the CNRS, and his team who described the genetic mechanism innate in the immune response to HIV. Asked by Why Doctor to find out if these conclusions can be transposed to the coronavirus, he confirms: “fewer women are affected by severe forms of Covid-19.”
Higher antibody level
The duality of response to Covid-19 infections according to sex, where men are more prone to being contaminated than women, is confirmed in the production of antibodies to guard against a new contamination. This time, it is men who are better protected since they seem to produce more antibodies than women. This finding is the result of data collection from the NHS, the British health service, which is currently collecting plasma from convalescent patients for a treatment trial against coronavirus. They found that 43% of male donors had a sufficient level of antibodies to Covid-19 to be eligible for the trial, compared to only 29% of women.
This observation is mainly explained by the greater sensitivity of men to the coronavirus, leading them to develop more antibodies. However, the presence of more antibodies does not automatically mean that men are better protected than women. The potential immunity brought by these antibodies remains uncertain, as well as their lifespan. In addition, other mechanisms seem capable of protecting us against a possible new infection.
Blood plasma, a possible treatment
Blood plasma brings hope and is studied as treatment line to treat Covid-19 patients. American researchers are studying blood transfusions of plasma to help the immune system of patients to fight the virus. Their first study, which has certain limitations since it did not use a placebo to compare the results, showed that only 1% of patients who received transfusions of blood plasma had serious complications. Additional research is underway to confirm these results.