The popular TV program invited Dr Amir Khan to discuss a new medical study on Wednesday linking milder Covid-19 symptoms in women with levels of estrogen. The hormone is one of the primary components in oral contraceptive pills and some other medications.
“The idea is that estrogen specifically can be protective. What it does is boost your immune system, so your immune system reacts quicker to the virus once it takes hold and you get less of a severe response,” the guest explained.
Host Kate Garraway suggested that, given the precarious situation with the disease in Britain, the instinct of some men might be to say: “I’ll risk my man-boobs and just go and get myself on the contraceptive pill.”
Dr Khan said that this wouldn’t be a good idea, considering how “all hormones have side effects” and estrogen in particular may lead to certain types of cancer, for example.
“We certainly wouldn’t want everyone just going on estrogen pills or hormone pills because that can cause problems in itself,” he said.
Soon after the broadcast, Dr Khan found himself on the receiving end of some online anger, with people calling him “stupid and corrupt,” demanding that the British medical regulator GMC launch an investigation into his comments.
A now-deleted tweet posted by the program started with a rhetorical question: “Should everyone in the country, including men, take the contraceptive pill to protect against coronavirus?” before outlining Dr Khan’s acknowledgement that the pill “could offer ‘potential protection’ against the virus.”
The link between estrogen and the severity of Covid-19 symptoms was hypothesized by researchers at King’s College London, who noticed that women taking oral contraceptives were 13 percent less likely to have a bad case of the disease than those who didn’t.
Statistically, men are more likely than women to develop acute symptoms after being infected with the coronavirus, so scientists throughout the world have been looking for possible ways to use sex hormones to battle the virus.
I have wondered at times what the Ten Commandments would have looked like if Moses had run them through the US Congress.