A study published in the journal Nature Communications on the 9th of December 2020 revealed:
Men infected with Covid-19 are three times more likely to require intensive care than women and are at a significantly higher risk of dying from the virus.
It should be noted that the researchers concluded this after analyzing over three million confirmed coronavirus cases from 46 countries and 44 states in the US between the 1st of January and the 1st of June 2020.
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Conclusion of the Analysis
Scientists highlighted that the risk of Sars-Cov-2 infection was the same for women and men, as “exactly half” of the confirmed cases were male patients.
However, research suggested:
Men are almost three times more likely than women to be hospitalized in an intensive care unit and are 39 percent more likely to die from the virus.
According to researchers, this trend in Covid-19 patients is global – aside from a few exceptions – and is majorly a result of biological differences.
Scientific Explanation of this Conclusion
The research revealed that the sex differences in both the innate and adaptive immune systems have been previously reported and may account for the female advantage in Covid-19.
Research indicated that women naturally produce more type I interferon proteins that limit the abnormal immune response known as a cytokine storm, believed to play a role in provoking severe forms of Covid-19.
The study highlighted:
The “female” oestradiol hormone may also help women to fend off grave forms of the virus, as it boosts the response of T cells – which kill infected cells – and increases the production of antibodies.
The study continued to state:
In contrast, the male sex hormone testosterone suppresses the immune system.
The study concluded:
Sex-based differences in comorbidities associated with severe Covid-19 may put men at outsize risk. However, the data to account for the role of other medical conditions is lacking, i.e., hypertension and diabetes – the most common reported comorbidities in hospitalized Covid-19 patients.
Authorities believe that this analysis’s data may help doctors recognize that sex is a risk factor for severe disease when managing patients.
Regarding this recent discovery, a Cape Town University researcher said:
Sex is an under-reported variable in many studies, and this is a reminder that it is a crucial factor to consider in research.
It is pertinent to mention that the findings may have implications for future vaccines as previous vaccines to other infections have also shown differences in response between women and men.
The author of the study, Kate Webb, concluded by saying:
It is still to be determined whether the same will be valid for Sars-CoV-2 vaccines. But we hope that our paper highlights the need to include sex as a variable when considering vaccine research.
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