A study has found that COVID-19 kills more men than women globally as SARS-CoV-2 has the ability to decrease serum total testosterone levels in the male body.
As previously known, serious COVID-19 patients are known to have low testosterone levels, this new study confirms that SARS-CoV-2 virus is responsible for lowering the male sex hormone.
“For the first time, our data suggest that COVID-19 might deteriorate serum testosterone level in SARS-CoV-2 infected male patients,” researchers from Mersin University and the City Hospital for Education and Research from Mersin in Turkey reported in The Aging Male magazine.
The low level of testosterone significantly increases the risk of admission to the intensive care unit (ICU) and mortality in COVID-19 patients. Testosterone is the main male sex hormone, which decreases on an average between 0.8% and 2% per year after 40 years of age. This would also explain the higher mortality rate among older men infected with the virus.
“Testosterone is associated with the immune system of the respiratory organs, and low testosterone levels may increase the risk of respiratory infections,” explained lead author Selahittin Cayan.
He added that Low serum total testosterone level is also associated with a higher rate of hospitalization for infection and all-cause mortality in men in the ICU. “So testosterone treatment may also have benefits beyond improving outcomes for COVID-19,” he said.
The study is based on 438 patients, out of which 232 were men.
“In our study, serum total testosterone level decreased, while the severity of COVID-19 increased. The serum total testosterone level was significantly lower in the ICU group than in the asymptomatic group,” Cayan revealed.