Examining the role of endocrine system and hormones in COVID-19 infection

The evidence for hormone involvement in COVID-19 infection and treatment will be evaluated and discussed by endocrine experts in a dedicated COVID-19 session at e-ECE 2020. The European Society of Endocrinology's annual meeting is going online 5-9 September 2020 and the e-ECE 2020 programme will feature cutting-edge science and the latest in clinical practice and patient care.

This includes a new, dedicated COVID-19 session, where experts in the field will present, summarize and examine evidence for the role of the endocrine system and hormones in COVID-19 infection risk, disease severity and potential treatment.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has massively affected how we all live and work and has become the major focus of medical research, as the scientific and medical communities strive to understand it better, develop effective treatments and create a vaccine. This has led to a huge volume of studies being pushed out to the public domain, including some that have not been subject the usual rigorous, scrutiny of peer review. This has resulted in conflicting messages in the media and has contributed to mistrust of experts.

Although initially thought to be a respiratory, influenza-like condition, several studies have now implicated that the severity of COVID-19 infection is increased in people with cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. This raises the possibility that the consequences of viral infection are being affected by the endocrine system.

Additionally, severe illness is more common in men, further suggesting that sex, possibly male and female sex hormones, are affecting coronavirus infection. More recently the glucocorticoid, dexamethasone, has shown promise as a treatment in severely ill patients with COVID-19. All of these findings indicate a key role for the endocrine system in mediating infection, disease severity and as a possible therapeutic target.

In the dedicated COVID-19 session at 16:45 CET on 8 September, three experts will review the evidence for the endocrine system's role in SARS-C0V-2 infection, and discuss how to mitigate these risks, with a view to better managing future cases and saving more lives.

* Daniel Drucker will discuss, 'Endocrine targets related to COVID infection'

* Julia Prado will discuss, 'Managing the cytokine storm'

* Matteo Rottoli will discuss, 'How strong is obesity as a risk factor for COVID-19 patients?'

These sessions aim to critically evaluate the role of the endocrine system and endocrinology in the COVID-19 pandemic, with expert debate and hopes of identifying new protective strategies and treatment options, to reduce the disease severity and risk of death in the future.

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