For Once, Being A Trans Woman May Be a Superpower.
Last year around April a study from Italy, into cis men recieving androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) for prostate cancer, suggested for some reason they had significantly lower rates of Covid infection than healthy cis men. I wondered what, if anything, that meant for trans women.
The Italian researchers claimed it was a direct result of androgen deprivation therapy, but other researchers disagreed. One alternative explanation was that as they were cancer patients they would be shielding. Which could explain the apparently lower infection and mortality rate.
I took particular interest in the subject because no one does healthcare research into trans women, and we are usually left to infer what we can from other science. I had asked a doctor at the occupational health department of the hospital trust associated with my university what were my risks if I caught covid, and he did the same thing doctors always do when I ask about healthcare from the perspective of a trans woman; he shrugged and said he didn't know. He went on to say that “just to be on the safe side” he would consider me to be in the “High Risk” category for covid complications and told me I should not have contact with Covid positive patients. But by January, during the UK’s second massive wave of infections that became impossible. I found myself working on a Covid ward (they were all covid wards at that point) at a large London hospital. Inevitably I tested positive and got sick for a few weeks with exceptionally mild symptoms.
At the time of the Italian discovery, the outcome of the argument among researchers was that more research was needed.
Now we have more research that suggests ADT does have a potentially protective role against covid infection.
If the results hold out into humans, it probably means trans women on T-blockers or post orchiectomy/vaginoplasty – possibly the ultimate form of androgen deprivation therapy, probably do have some degree of protection from the SARS-COV2 virus as a result. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2589004221002224