By Nsunjo Erica
According to stats, one of the findings shows a difference between men and women, although both sexes have been infected and killed by the COVID-19 virus, the death rate among men is higher.
Research also shows that although slightly more women are getting infected with the new Coronavirus, the majority of fatal cases are in men.
Scientists said that following analysis of the SARS and MERS outbreaks, which were also caused by coronaviruses, during the influenza pandemic of 1918, over 50 million people died, and adult men were more likely to die than women.
Doctors say that the difference in numbers would indicate that the underlying differences in the immune response among genders which may play a larger role than we have appreciated so far.
Research also shows that the notion that female hormones may be protective in some way has led to a new line of research. Females tend to have a more robust immune response than men in fighting infectious diseases
While the male sex hormone testosterone suppresses inflammation, the female sex hormone estrogen can activate the cells involved in antiviral responses
There’s another theory that men are more at risk both of infection and death because rates of smoking are higher in men than in women, an infectious disease specialist with St. Jude Medical Center in Orange County, California, tells Health.
The CDC also says that smoking is one of the conditions that cause a person to become immunocompromised, which means their immune defenses are weakened.
According to Janine Clayton, director of the Office of Research on Women’s Health at NIH, “There’s something about the immune system in females that is more exuberant,” but researchers have yet to figure out what that is.
Some researchers think the higher level of estrogen, which contributes to immunity, and the fact that women have two X chromosomes, which carry immune-related genes, could factor into women’s heightened immune response.
However, when the researchers blocked estrogen in the female mice and removed their ovaries, they were more likely to die from the virus. Blocking testosterone in the male mice on the other hand had no effect on the death rate.
Men also have higher rates of high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease than women, all of which can increase the risk of complications and death from a coronavirus infection, Caryn Rabin reports.
A professor of immunology at Yale University added that men may have a “false sense of security “for instance, doctors recommended that people wash their hands thoroughly and often to prevent infection. Multiple studies have found that men are less likely to wash their hands and use soap than women.