Sex hormones, autoimmunity and gender disparity in COVID-19

Document Type

Review Article


The Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has majorly contributed to massive and widespread mortality. Epidemiological data strongly indicates a sex-based disparity in COVID-19 clinical outcomes, with women having lower infection and hospitalisation rates, coupled with better prognosis and lesser mortality. This disparity may be explained by several mechanisms including differences in innate and adaptive immune responses, genetic factors, and an interplay between sex hormones and immune effectors, as well as gender-specific behaviour differences. These pathways, particularly the immunological divergence in response to viral infection, could potentially influence not only COVID-19 pathogenesis and disease course, but also the response to antiviral drugs and vaccines. Furthermore, factors that confer a protective advantage against COVID-19 may be exploited to develop therapeutic strategies to improve clinical outcomes in COVID-19.


Volume, issue, and pagination are not provided by the author/publisher

Publication (Name of Journal)

Rheumatology International