This webinar will discuss a study that identified a link between male sex hormones and COVID-19 disease severity in men and also pointed toward possible therapeutic candidates for the disease.
Dr. Hani Goodarzi of the University of California, San Francisco, will share details of the work, which was based on the premise that SARS-CoV-2 infection occurs through binding of the viral spike protein to angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) on the host cell membrane.
Dr. Goodarzi and colleagues used a high-throughput drug screening strategy to identify therapeutic candidates that reduce ACE2 levels in cardiac cells derived from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). Analysis of validated hit compounds pointed to the central role of androgen signaling in ACE2 expression.
Treatment with antiandrogenic drugs, as well as in silico-derived compounds predicted to target this pathway, reduced ACE2 expression and protected hESC-derived lung organoids against SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Finally, clinical data on COVID-19 patients demonstrated that prostate diseases, which are linked to elevated androgen, are significant risk factors for severe COVID-19 and that genetic variants that increase androgen levels are associated with higher disease severity.
Dr. Goodarzi will discuss how these findings offer insights on the basis of differential susceptibility between men and women and suggest antiandrogenic drugs as candidate therapeutics for COVID-19.