Coronavirus: Bald men may be at higher risk of severe Covid-19 case, research finds

5 June 2020, 06:49

Bald men are believed to be more at risk from Covid-19 [File Photo]
Bald men are believed to be more at risk from Covid-19 [File Photo]. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Bald men could be at higher risk of suffering from severe Covid-19 symptoms, new evidence suggests.

The link between hair loss and coronavirus is so strong some scientists are suggesting baldness should be considered a risk factor called the "Gabrin sign", after the first US doctor to die of Covid-19 in the United States, Dr Frank Gabrin, who was bald.

The lead author of the study told The Daily Telegraph: "We really think that baldness is a perfect predictor of severity."

The newspaper reported data which has emerged since the start of the Covid-19 outbreak in China's Wuhan province has shown men are more likely to die after contracting coronavirus.

Read more: Human rights watchdog to launch coronavirus racial inequality inquiry

In the UK, a report this week Public Health England found that working-age males were twice as likely as females to die after being diagnosed with Covid-19.

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Professor Carlos Wambier of Brown University conducted studies in Spain which found that a disproportionately high number of men with male pattern baldness were taken to hospital with coronavirus.

Data from one study showed 71 per cent of the 41 patients with Covid-19 in hospitals across Spain were bald. The normal background rate of baldness for white men of a similar age to the patients between 31 and 53%.

The second study, which was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, found 79 per cent of the 122 male coronavirus patients in Madrid hospitals were bald.

Scientists have argued androgens - male sex hormones - may contribute to hair loss and increase the ability of the coronavirus to attack cells.

That means hormone-suppressing drugs could potentially be used to slow Covid-19's progress and allow sufferers time to recover.

Professor Wambier told the Telegraph: "We think androgens or male hormones are definitely the gateway for the virus to enter our cells."

However others have urged caution, with Prostate Cancer UK head of policy Karen Stalbow telling the newspaper "much more evidence is needed" before such drugs could be used for coronavirus treatment.