COVID-19: Why coronavirus is infecting more men than women?
Coronavirus or COVID-19 (COronaVIrus Disease of 2019) which was first identified in Wuhan, China, is now a global pandemic. People from all walks of life are getting infected from the deadly virus. Many studies have revealed that COVID-19 affect all age groups, but older people, people with chronic diseases and men are severely infected by the virus. The studies suggests that 58.1% men and 41.9% women have been affected with the deadly virus.
What different studies reveal?
As per a recent report from Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, men and women have been equally infected with this deadly virus but the death rate among men was 2.8% compared to 1.7% among women.
The study was concluded from the medical records. For instance, in the United States, death ratio of men is double in comparison to women. In Western Europe, nearly 69% of males have died due to the novel virus.
Thousands of patients were a part of the European study and the data of COVID-19 hit patients was collected from 11 countries. The study concluded that men have a higher concentration of a key enzyme ACE 2 in comparison to women, which enables the noble virus to infect healthy cells in men.
What is ACE 2?
ACE 2 is Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 which is attached to the outer surface of the cells of lungs, arteries, heart, kidney and testes in males. This enzyme causes vasodilation and lowers the blood pressure.
Why this difference is seen?
1- Biological Differences: As per a study published by the researchers in The Western Journal of Emergency Medicine, women's immune response to virus is stronger in males than in females. This is because women have XX chromosomes while men have a single X chromosome. As per the researchers, the protein by which coronavirus is sensed is encoded on the X chromosome and which is found twice the dose in immune cells of females compared to males. This, in turn, means that immune response to COVID-19 in females is twice that of males.
Another biological reason is the presence of ACE 2 enzyme. Men have a higher concentration of a key enzyme ACE2 in comparison to women, which enables the noble virus to infect healthy cells.
2- Behavioural Differences: Some researchers are of the view that the behavioural differences between males and females is the key factor between difference in the death rates due to COVID-19. For instance, in China 50% of the males smoke compared to 5% women which increases the level of pre-existing disease such as heart disease, chronic lung disease and cancer.
However, there's no enough evidence to support these biological and behavioural differences. Only the ongoing studies have suggested these differences and it is unclear that exactly why COVID-19 hit men harder than women.