Exploring how male and female immune systems differ and how this is impacting the course of the COVID-19 crisis
As an immunologist my research is focused around trying to unravel the possibilities for a novel signalling system involving two receptors, toll-like receptor 7 & 8, which normally detect harmful RNAs found in viruses, bacteria and in the hosts damaged cells (RNA is DNAs cousin which transfers genetic code into proteins). Since the global spread of COVID-19, I have been reading papers related to how these receptors function during viral infections and found interesting research related to differences between them in the sexes and how this contributes to differences in disease outcomes. Here I run you through emerging hypotheses which are thought to contribute towards the difference in COVID outcomes for men and women and other diseases that appear to be influenced by these sex related differences . For ease of reading I will use COVID to name both the disease COVID-19 and the virus SARS-CoV-2 even though SARS-CoV-2 would be more technically correct to use when discussing the virus. Also, my focus in this article is on the physiological differences in the immune system between the sexes of male and female, not the impact in behavioural and cultural differences between the genders of men and women.
Immunopolitics Blog. (2020). COVID-19 and Man-flu: A curious link?