Men, who are more sensitive to the SARS-Cov-2 virus than women, also produce more antibodies in their plasma which may protect them from getting reinfected.
Women have a better immune response to infectious diseases than men. A fact recently explained by Jean-Charles Guéry, a researcher at the Centre of Physiopathology of the University of Toulouse together with INSERM and CNRS, and his team, who described the innate genetic mechanism in the immune response to HIV. When asked whether these findings are transferable to the coronavirus, he confirmed: “There are fewer women affected by severe forms of COVID-19”.
A higher level of antibodies
The gender-specific response to COVID-19 infections, in which men are more frequently infected than women, is confirmed in their production of antibodies for protection against reinfection. This time it is men who are better protected, as they appear to produce more antibodies than women. This conclusion is the result of data collection by the NHS, the UK Health Service, which is currently collecting convalescent plasma from cured patients for a coronavirus treatment study. They found that 43% of male donors had enough antibodies for Covid-19 to be eligible for the study, compared to only 29% of female donors.
This observation is mainly explained by the increased sensitivity of men to coronavirus, which leads 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 that these antibodies bring with them remains uncertain, as does their life span. In addition, other mechanisms seem to be able to protect us from possible new infections.
Blood plasma, a possible treatment
Blood plasma offers hope and is being investigated as a treatment option for patients with Covid-19. US researchers are studying blood plasma transfusions to help the patient’s immune system fight the virus. Their first study, which has certain limitations because it did not use a placebo to compare results, showed that only 1% of patients who received blood plasma transfusions had serious complications. Further studies are underway to confirm these results.