Men are much more likely to die from coronavirus – but why?
In a research published Monday, analysts studied 72,314 patient records from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CCDC), found Covid-19 discriminates by age and by underlying health conditions.
It has become increasingly apparent that COVID-19 also discriminates by sex, with men more likely to test positive and more likely to die from the disease.
Although men and women have been infected in roughly equal numbers, the CCDC data also suggested that fatality rates were higher among men than women. Officials recorded a 2.8% fatality rate for male patients versus 1.7% for women.
Apart from China, the pattern has been mirrored in France, Germany, Iran, Italy, South Korea and Spain.
In Italy, men have accounted for 71% of deaths and, in Spain, data released suggests TWICE as many men as women have died. (BMJ Global Health)
So why are men more vulnerable to Coronavirus?
1. Men has higher underlying diseases
Preliminary reports of people with severe COVID-19 disease have found associations with existing co-morbidities including hypertension, cardiovascular disease and some chronic lung diseases including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which are consistently found to be more common among men than women worldwide.
Cardiovascular disease was the preexisting condition most associated with increased fatalities, with the study reporting a fatality rate of 10.5% in patients who suffered with the condition. Diabetes sufferers had a fatality rate of 7.3%, while the frequency of fatalities was also higher than the overall rate in people with chronic respiratory disease, hypertension and cancer.
2. Men has lower First-Line Immune Defense against infection
Previous research, has revealed that men have lower innate antiviral immune responses to a range of infections including hepatitis C and HIV. Studies in mice suggest that this may also be true for coronaviruses, though Covid-19 specifically has not been studied. It seems female hormones play a major role in immune defense system.
3. It’s in the Gene – X chromosome
And many genes that regulate the immune system are encoded on the X chromosome (of which men have one, and women have two) and so it is possible that some genes involved in the immune response are more active in women than in men. A study in mice done at the University of Iowa, for instance, found that genes on the X chromosome could make female mice less susceptible to SARS, another type of coronavirus. (The new coronavirus shares 79.5% of its genetic code with SARS.)