COVID-19 Vaccines: A researcher from Michigan State University named Morteza Mahmoudi is raising awareness about the role of sex in the efficacy of the vaccines that use nanomedicine in their manufacturing.
According to a study done by Mahmoudi and his colleagues, the vaccines developed by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech work slightly better on men than on women.
Both of these vaccines use nanoparticles (nanoparticles) that deliver the active ingredients in them to the cells in our body. Mahmoudi specialises in the working of nanomedicines and therapies that use nanoparticles. He has been studying for years as to why these medicines affect patients differently depending on their sex and he believes that this could be one of the factors with the COVID-19 vaccines.
Recently, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has drawn attention to the sex differences in the vaccines, as its side effect of rare blood clotting has predominantly affected women. However, the J&J vaccines do not use nanoparticles but modified adenoviruses to help the body make antibodies against the virus.
Mahmoudi has also previously shown in his earlier works that viruses are able to transfect (infect a cell with free nucleic acid) the cells of men and women differently.
The researcher is now focusing on the nanomedicine component and has published three peer-reviewed papers on the role of sex in nanomedicine and how they relate to the Coronavirus vaccines.
— Morteza Mahmoudi, PhD (@MoriMahmoudi) May 22, 2021
Mahmoudi, who is an assistant professor in the Department of Radiology and the Precision Health Program at Michigan State University said that it is needed to monitor these sex differences and report on them to the public as well as the scientific community. He also said that this will be very helpful in the coming future as it may help in developing new strategies.
In the paper, Mahmoudi also outlines four large challenges that they face in researching the role of sex in nanomedicine performance and with the strategies to mitigate them moving forward.
Researchers often do not have sufficient resources to perform their studies in samples that are taken from both men and women, yet they may interpret the results to be equally applicable to all sexes. To prevent this, Mahmoudi has been calling for researchers to be more transparent and to share the sex-specific limitations of their studies and conclusions.