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Call for more research into hormones and long COVID piques readers’ interest

Call for more research into hormones and long COVID piques readers’ interest

An article highlighting the role of sex hormones in long COVID, published in November 2021 in The Lancet Regional Health – Europe is still in the Journal’s most popular read articles four months on.

Written by Dr Stuart Stewart and Dr Louise Newson and others, the article asks why long COVID disproportionately affects women and, just as worryingly, why sex-specific pathophysiology receives such little attention in recent reviews of the literature.

You can read this open access article in full here. The authors call for robust research to help understand the epidemiological basis, as well as the underlying biological mechanisms for sex-differences in long COVID. Such research requires systematic application of sex-specific methodologies to achieve the sex-disaggregated data essential to underpin this vital research.

The popularity of this article in The Lancet Regional Health – Europe highlights the importance of this ignored topic.

The importance of sex hormones, especially in the context of modulating the immune system and reducing the risk of future disease, are woefully overlooked which, in the context of a global pandemic, has had significant and avoidable consequences. It is encouraging to see our article being read but this is only the beginning – as the human and economic impact of long COVID begins to become clearer. Research is urgently needed to examine the impact of HRT on long COVID and its prognosis.

Dr Stuart Stewart
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