Health experts have been trying to find answers to one of the most mysterious questions that why men are more susceptible to COVID19 as compared to women. However, a new study has shown that it might be due to hereditary differences in the immune responses between men and women. The study has been done by experts from the Massachusetts General Hospital. The authors of the study have looked at 38 women who have tested positive for COVID19 during pregnancy. Experts have revealed that half of the participants have been pregnant with baby boys. The majority of women have been diagnosed with mild or moderate COVID19 infection. Health experts who have been involved in the new research have measured the levels of antibodies in the bloodstream of pregnant women and their fetuses with the help of extracted placenta tissues and blood samples taken from the umbilical cords. The findings of the research have shown that women who have been pregnant with baby boys have been found with fewer antibodies as compared to women who have been pregnant with baby girls. The authors of the study have also said that expectant mothers have passed on fewer antibodies to their male fetuses as compared to those women who have been carrying baby girls. The co-author of the study, Dr. Andrea Edlow has said that there is some crosstalk going on between the fetus and the immune systems of mothers. Dr. Andrea Edlow is working at the Massachusetts General Hospital as a maternal-fetus medicine expert. The findings of the study have highlighted broader differences in the way men and women react to SARS-CoV-2 infection, said the expert.
The outcomes of the new study have revealed that male fetuses appear to produce an inflammatory response to the virus that has not been found in female fetuses. Dr. Andrea Edlow has noted that the inflammatory response might be obstructing the ability of mothers to transfer COVID19 antibodies to their unborn baby boys. The authors of the study have said that they are not certain whether male fetuses react to the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the same way as boys and men do, however, there are some similarities. The study has noted that there has been an overexpression of interferon-stimulated genes in the placentas of women who are pregnant with baby boys that help promote inflammation. These genes have been under-expressed in the placentas of women who have been pregnant with baby girls. Dr. Andrea Edlow has claimed that such types of responses have been proved to be essential in shielding the fetus and placenta against an infection when an expectant mother is suffering from a viral infection. Nevertheless, such responses can lead to a harmful impact if it is exaggerated. The authors of the study have confirmed that the same type of immune response has been seen among men who have been diagnosed with COVID19 infection. A study that has been published last year has shown that men have been found with greater levels of cytokines as compared to women who have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 virus infection. Cytokines are a type of protein that can trigger inflammation. It makes men more susceptive to COVID19 as compared to women, said the experts. As per the database prepared by the US government, men account for the majority of COVID19 related deaths in the United States while they account for the minority of reported COVID19 cases in the country. Health experts have said that the trend is quite frequent among all age groups of men. They have said that men contribute to nearly 48 percent of total confirmed COVID19 cases in the US.
Dr. Andrea Edlow has said that the findings of the study have shown that the inflammation responses observed in male fetuses have a major effect later in male life. The authors of the study have said that the findings of the new study do not fully elucidate the sex bias in COVID19, however, they offer some insight into male immunity in general that begins in the uterus itself. As per the findings of the new study, none of the fetuses that have been observed in the study have inherited COVID19 infection during pregnancy; however, it has been consistent in Dr. Andrea Edlow’s past studies. All babies who have been delivered have maintained normal birth weights. Experts have said that none of the pregnancies that have been analyzed in the study have resulted in miscarriage or stillbirth. The authors of the study have told that they have not been able to find what will be the long-term effects on fetuses that are developing in the inflammatory atmosphere. Dr. Edlow has said that she is collaborating with other experts to see if exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the mother’s womb can affect the growth of the child. Many past studies have shown that diseases that are contracted during pregnancy can put children at a higher risk of neurodevelopmental issues such as ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder), and autism. Experts have said that ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder), and autism are more frequent in boys. The co-author of the new report has claimed that whatever is occurring in development appears to trigger sex-bias risk for the child. The authors of the report have not been able to find whether COVID19 antibodies that are obtained by the fetus in the womb will translate into immunity against the virus after birth in the real world as well. Health officials have advised that both expectant mothers and children who are eligible for vaccination should receive COVID19 shots irrespective of whether they have been diagnosed with the infection in the past. They have warned that women who are pregnant are two times more likely to lose their lives due to the disease as compared to women who are not pregnant. A study that has been done by Dr. Andrea Edlow has shown that pregnant women tend to develop a weaker immune response after the first doses of Pfizer or Moderna COVID19 shots, therefore getting the second dose is even more crucial.
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