Are coronavirus and alopecia related each other?
By Prof. Dr. Soner Tatlidede 2020-05-22
A new study on coronavirus and alopecia has found a possible link between male pattern baldness -the most common form of baldness among men- and patients hospitalized with COVID-19, which in turn could establish a relation between hormonal and genetic factors that trigger baldness in men, and their vulnerability to the coronavirus outbreak.
In order to establish a possible link, a group of scientists has studied not only what is coronavirus, or how is coronavirus transmitted; they have also analysed how dangerous is coronavirus on people and what population can be at greater risk against the SARS-COV2 virus, bringing to light possible new therapies to combat it and reduce coronavirus death toll. Let's see more details about these interesting findings.
Why is that a bald head and COVID-19 can be related?
The study about male baldness and COVID-19 has included several experts and specialists in hair medicine from Spain, USA, Italy, India and Brazil, including the dermatologist of the Warren Alpert School of Medicine of the Brown University (Rhode Island, USA) Carlos Wambier, and the Spanish dermatologist and specialist in hair regeneration Alba Gómez.
These experts have studied the hypothesis of whether men with male pattern baldness are more vulnerable to coronavirus. It must be taken into account that male pattern baldness is triggered by genetic factors linked to androgens, which are sex hormones -which include testosterone- that can be found in both males and females, but in a much higher proportion in men.
Thus, these experts carried out an observational study about the rate of people with male pattern baldness among patients hospitalized due to COVID-19 in two hospitals in Spain, between March 23 and April 6, 2020; the conclusion was that there was a high rate of men with alopecia admitted in hospitals with coronavirus: that is, the same androgen receptor in body cells could open the way to more severe forms of coronavirus.
What is the treatment for the coronavirus disease? Finasteride can be
The researchers are now seeking to collect more data in health system to confirm their theory, analysing those patients with COVID-19 who have been receiving treatment with antiandrogen drugs such as finasteride -used to combat hair loss- and compare their hospitalization rates because of coronavirus with patients of the same age who are not taking these medications.
Can people recover from coronavirus disease? Precisely, researchers hope that this study could lead to a new coronavirus treatment based on drugs such as finasteride to alleviate the most serious coronavirus symptoms, although its possible side effects in patients with COVID-19 have yet to be studied. However, the possibilities opened up by this study for the treatment of this disease are encouraging.
"Females could use a medication called spironolactone, which inhibits the androgen receptor. Males could use finasteride or dutasteride, which … blocks the production of DHT, a very powerful androgen", says professor Wambier. In those cases with more severe forms of COVID-19, stronger antiandrogens would be necessary but monitoring at the same time the side effects.
A potential coronavirus cure?
Dr. Gómez, another expert that has participated in the study, explains that although they are apparently two totally different pathologies, this research seems to confirm that there is a link between male pattern baldness and the coronavirus disease, which is known to mainly affect men older than 60 years or with other previous pathologies.
These findings could help in a near future to improve the way how coronavirus is diagnosed, detecting patients at higher risk through alopecia -whose diagnosis is easy and can be detected visually- before they show symptoms of coronavirus. Thus, once these patients fall ill by COVID-19, it can be quickly determined that their immediate hospitalisation is necessary, and more lives can be saved.
The conclusions of this study on the relation between coronavirus and alopecia are really interesting, and at Clinicana we will closely follow any new progress on it. Remember that at our Istanbul clinic we have the best hair treatments, and that we continue offering the possibility of a free video consultation. Read the reviews on hair transplant in Turkey, and discover by yourself why we are a reference in safe and successful treatments.