Finger length could help predict severe COVID-19

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

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

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

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.

They 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.

The team says “‘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.

If you care about COVID, please read studies about how to avoid long COVID and herb rosemary could help fight COVID-19, Alzheimer’s disease.

For more information about COVID, please see recent studies about the key to stopping indoor COVID virus spread, and results showing your BMI number linked to risks of death and ICU stay in COVID-19.

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