A study in China found that the death rate for coronavirus is more than twice that of women, despite the fact that both genders are equally likely to contract the coronavirus.
According to the investigation published in the journal Frontiers in Public Health that analyzes the differences between male and female patients, and concludes that older men may need additional care and faster access to intensive therapies.
According to the results, men and women have the same possibilities of contracting the virus, but that men are significantly more likely to suffer the severe effects of the disease and to die.
Researchers at the Tongren Hospital in Beijing, China analyzed data from 43 coronavirus patients they had treated themselves and data from 1,056 people who are publicly available; in addition, they also included figures for 524 SARS patients from 2003 (the two coronaviruses behind these diseases are similar).
“In early January, we noticed that the number of men dying from coronavirus appeared to be greater than the number of women,” said Jin-Kui Yang, a physician at the Beijing hospital.
Among the patients, the researchers confirmed that older people and those with specific underlying conditions tended to have more severe disease and were more likely to die.
However, the age and number of infected men and women were similar, but men tended to have a more serious illness: more than 70 per cent of those who died were men.
According to Yang, males have a mortality rate of almost 2.5 times higher than females.
“And the interesting thing is that being a man is a significant risk factor for having a more serious illness, regardless of age.”
In 2003 SARS data collected, scientists found a similar trend, with a significantly higher death rate among men.
In both SARS and COVID-19, the virus is able to enter the human cell due to a protein that binds to another, called ACE2. This is found in our cells and the work also examines it.
Thus, according to this study, ACE2 levels tend to be higher in men and in patients with cardiovascular disease and diabetes, all with worse results.
Despite these findings, Yang and colleagues indicate that further research is needed to determine why men with COVID-19 tend to perform worse.