After more men than women were found to be seriously ill with the covid-19 virus, a new study will look at whether anti-prostate cancer medicine may be the solution to the problem.

Data from Italy have shown that the group of men treated with medication for prostate cancer had significantly fewer sufferers of covid-19 than in comparable groups. It may also be that the male sex hormone, testosterone, makes men have a weaker immune system against covid-19.

The medicine blocks the signaling of testosterone, which in turn affects, among other things, an enzyme in the body. It is the same enzyme that the coronavirus needs to enter the cells and damage the lungs.

Intensive treatment hopes to have fewer side effects

The patients in the study will receive the medicine in tablet form for five days when they are closely monitored. The treatment result should then be compared with a control group.

- This is a drug that we are well acquainted with, but which will now be used in a new situation. Therefore, safety is very important in the study, says Andreas Josefsson who leads the study and is an assistant university lecturer and urologist at Umeå University and Norrland University Hospital.

Normally, the drug is given as a long-term treatment, and the short treatment time that is now relevant reduces the risks of possible side effects. Follow-up will take place continuously for six weeks and thereafter after six months.