AUG 24, 2021 6:00 AM PDT

Women Produce More COVID Antibodies Than Men

WRITTEN BY: Tara Fernandez

An exploration into the human immune response after a COVID-19 infection has revealed a surprising finding: women produce more antibodies to the coronavirus than men. The researchers, based at Tel Aviv University, found that age, the severity of COVID-19 symptoms, and the time since receiving a vaccine shot are also strong influencers of circulating antibody levels.

Antibodies are Y-shaped proteins that form a critical part of the immune system’s arsenal against pathogens. Once the body has been invaded by an infectious agent, short-lived cells known as plasmablasts produce some of the first antibodies to help resist infection. Subsequently, bone marrow plasma cells maintain long-term protection against germs, generating pathogen-specific antibodies for years after the initial infection. 

In the context of COVID-19, neutralizing antibodies latch onto the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, stopping virus particles from entering host cells and causing disease.

​Researchers who were interested in what factors affect antibody production dynamics after COVID-19 examined over 25,000 blood samples taken from a cohort of study participants who had recovered from the disease. Women older than 51 were found to have higher SARS-CoV-2 antibody levels than men of matched ages. In men, rising antibody levels begin much earlier, starting around age 35. This phenomenon was hypothesized to be related to associated fluctuations in the sex hormones testosterone and estrogen. 

Moreover, individuals who had received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine had three times stronger antibody responses than those who had naturally recovered from the disease. The authors suggest that the patterns observed may point towards differences in the overall health of the immune system (young adults have stronger immunities than older people). However, peaks in antibody levels in seniors often point to an exaggerated immune response as a result of very severe COVID-19 symptoms. 

The research was uploaded to the preprint server medRxiv
 

About the Author
  • Tara Fernandez has a PhD in Cell Biology and has spent over a decade uncovering the molecular basis of diseases ranging from skin cancer to obesity and diabetes. She currently works on developing and marketing disruptive new technologies in the biotechnology industry. Her areas of interest include innovation in molecular diagnostics, cell therapies, and immunology. She actively participates in various science communication and public engagement initiatives to promote STEM in the community.
You May Also Like
JUN 08, 2021
Immunology
Is the Pfizer-BioNtech Vaccine Variant-Resistant?
JUN 08, 2021
Is the Pfizer-BioNtech Vaccine Variant-Resistant?
Genetic variants of SARS-CoV-2 have emerged over the course of the pandemic, threatening public health efforts to limit ...
JUN 29, 2021
Immunology
The Heartbreaking Nature of COVID Revealed
JUN 29, 2021
The Heartbreaking Nature of COVID Revealed
Researchers at the Washington University School are getting to the root of heart damage resulting from COVID-19 infectio ...
JUL 29, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
What is Ivermectin and Can it Treat COVID?
JUL 29, 2021
What is Ivermectin and Can it Treat COVID?
Lab tests in 2020 found that the widely available drug ivermectin had a weak effect on the SARS-CoV-2 virus and that unf ...
AUG 10, 2021
Health & Medicine
Care Managers During COVID-19, A Vital Value-Add
AUG 10, 2021
Care Managers During COVID-19, A Vital Value-Add
At the beginning of 2020, fear was unleashed globally as the United States government announced a public health emergenc ...
AUG 12, 2021
Health & Medicine
Why Autoimmune Diseases Strike Women More Often Than Men
AUG 12, 2021
Why Autoimmune Diseases Strike Women More Often Than Men
According to a 2020 study published in Cureus, autoimmune diseases are two times more prevalent in women than men, with ...
AUG 31, 2021
Clinical & Molecular DX
Five Questions to Help You Select the Best Cellular Stain
AUG 31, 2021
Five Questions to Help You Select the Best Cellular Stain
Cellular stains are organic fluorescent dyes or fluorescent conjugates designed to localize to a specific organelle or c ...
Loading Comments...