Solid evidence supports the notion that men are more frequently, and more severely, affected by COVID-19. However, the exact mechanics behind this phenomenon have not been fully understood yet. In the present study, researchers from several Italian centers found that subjects with shorter polyQ alleles (≤22) in the androgen receptor (AR) are protected against severe outcome in COVID-19, highlighting (for the first time) a possible vulnerability on a genetic scale. This finding also opens new possibilities for treatment.
Baldassarri M, Picchiotti N, Fava F, Fallerini C, Benetti E, Daga S, Valentino F, Doddato G, Furini S, Giliberti A, Tita R, Amitrano S, Bruttini M, Croci S, Meloni I, Pinto AM, Iuso N, Gabbi C, Sciarra F, Venneri MA, Gori M, Sanarico M, Crawley FP, Pagotto U, Fanelli F, Mezzullo M, Dominguez-Garrido E, Planas-Serra L, Schlüter A, Colobran R, Soler-Palacin P, Lapunzina P, Tenorio J, Pujol A, Castagna MG, Marcelli M, Isidori AM, Renieri A, Frullanti E, Mari F; Spanish Covid HGE, GEN-COVID Multicenter Study. Shorter androgen receptor polyQ alleles protect against life-threatening COVID-19 disease in European males. EBioMedicine. 2021 Feb 26;65:103246. doi: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2021.103246. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33647767; PMCID: PMC7908850.