Racial variations in COVID-19 deaths may be due to androgen receptor genetic variants associated with prostate cancer and androgenetic alopecia. Are anti-androgens a potential treatment for COVID-19?

J Cosmet Dermatol. 2020 Jul;19(7):1542-1543. doi: 10.1111/jocd.13455. Epub 2020 Jun 14.


Racial disparities in COVID‐19 infection rates and disease severity are due to a multifactorial etiology that can include socioeconomic as well as other factors. Nevertheless, genetic factors in different ethnic groups often contribute to disease severity and treatment response. In particular, the frequency of genetic variations in the androgen receptor differs by ethnicity and gender. For example, the increased prevalence of prostate cancer and androgenetic alopecia among African Americans correlates with the frequency of these variants. In this communication, we propose that androgens may be implicated in COVID‐19 disease severity. As such, special attention may need to be given to African Americans infected by the SARS‐CoV‐2 virus. Finally, if a link to genetic variations in the androgen receptor and COVID‐19 disease severity can be established, it would suggest new treatment options.

Publication types

  • Letter

MeSH terms

  • Alopecia / genetics*
  • Androgen Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / drug therapy*
  • Coronavirus Infections / mortality*
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / drug therapy*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / mortality*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Racial Groups / genetics*
  • Receptors, Androgen / genetics*


  • Androgen Antagonists
  • Receptors, Androgen