Why Do Women Bear the Brunt?

What in June 2020 was an observation trickling through Europe’s medical community is now solidifying as a global trend: young to middle-aged women are most vulnerable to long COVID, The Guardian reports.
The condition affects as many as a quarter of COVID-19 patients, Healthline reports.

Some theories:


  • The “pregnancy compensation hypothesis” suggests that women of reproductive age have super-active immune responses to pathogens and virus fragments survive in “viral reservoirs” that cause lingering symptoms.
  • The virus triggers an autoimmune disease, producing “autoantibodies” that attack the body’s own organs—researchers are investigating whether this is particularly common in female long COVID-19 patients.

Background: Lingering symptoms among women have also been seen in other post-infectious syndromes like chronic Lyme disease, but have often been dismissed as psychological—contributing to a dearth of research.

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