How finger length could help predict severe COVID-19

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A new study from Swansea University found the link between levels of sex hormones in the womb and in puberty and COVID hospitalizations.

The study is published in Scientific Reports and was conducted by Professor John Manning et al.

Could the length of a person’s fingers provide a clue to how ill they might get after contracting COVID-19?

It is widely recognized that a longer ring finger is a marker of higher levels of testosterone prenatally, whereas a longer index finger is a marker of higher levels of estrogen.

Generally, men have longer ring fingers, whereas women have longer index fingers.

Most people who contract COVID-19 only experience mild symptoms.

But when it comes to patients who need hospital care, the rates vary depending on and gender (with males experiencing a higher severity than females).

This has led scientists to examine the link between testosterone and COVID-19 severity more closely.

One hypothesis implicates high testosterone in severe cases but another links low levels of testosterone in elderly men with a poor prognosis.

In the study, the team looked more closely at digit ratios (ratios of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th digits) as predictors of severity of COVID-19 symptoms.

The researchers found that patients with “feminized” short little fingers relative to their other digits tend to experience severe COVID-19 symptoms leading to hospitalization, and more importantly patients with the large right-hand—left-hand differences in ratios 2D:4D and 3D:5D—have substantially elevated probabilities of hospitalization.

The findings suggest that COVID-19 severity is related to low testosterone and possibly high estrogen in both men and women.

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“‘Feminized’ differences in digit ratios in hospitalized patients supports the view that individuals who have experienced low testosterone and/or high estrogen are prone to the severe expression of COVID-19. This may explain why the most at-risk group is elderly males.

There are currently several trials of anti-androgen (testosterone) drugs as a treatment for COVID-19. However, in contrast, there is also interest in testosterone as an anti-viral against COVID-19.

Recent studies have found why smokers have a lower risk of COVID-19, and vitamin D can be an inexpensive COVID-19 treatment, which are highly relevant to the current study.

Previous research has shown evidence that blood type could impact the risk for severe COVID-19.

In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that a person’s genes and blood type may help determine their odds for a nastier form of COVID-19, should they get infected with the new coronavirus.

They found that people with blood type A had a 45% higher risk of catching coronavirus and developing “COVID-19 with respiratory failure,” compared to people with other blood types.

On the other hand, people with type O blood had a 35% lower risk for this more serious form of COVID-19.

The study helps confirm earlier, more anecdotal evidence that blood type was tied to better or worse illness.

There are four main blood types: A, B, AB, and O. It’s not clear why blood type might influence susceptibility to severe disease.

The team analyzed the genetics and blood types of more than 1,600 COVID-19 patients from Italy and Spain, as well as more than 2,200 healthy controls.

Besides the findings on blood type, the team also found that certain gene clusters were tied to higher odds of developing severe COVID-19—one such cluster raised the risk by 77%.

According to the team, it is possible that genes that control blood type also play a role in the makeup of the surface of cells.

Changes in cell-surface structure might influence the vulnerability of the cell to be infected by the new coronavirus.

The genetic insights from the European study could also offer up new targets in the search for a COVID-19 vaccine.

If you care about COVID, please read studies about new ways to predict who will get severe COVID-19 and die, and why people with blood Type O less likely to get COVID-19.

For more information about health, please see recent studies about new drug that could prevent COVID-19, and results showing that aspirin, common anti-inflammatory drugs may prevent COVID-19 deaths.

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