A new global study published in the journal Nature Communications has pointed out that men are three times more likely to need intensive care treatment from a coronavirus infection than women, and also have a greater risk of death.
Studying over 3 million cases from around the globe and analyzing their patterns, a study released in the journal Nature Communications on Wednesday showed that there was “no difference” in the proportion of either sex actually getting infected, but there was a stark differentiation between how both genders tackled the disease once contracted. The researchers from the University College London and the University of Cape Town used data from 46 different countries and 44 US states to confirm the findings, which had just been mentioned before, without any scientific analysis to back it up.
The study revealed that “male patients have almost three times the odds of requiring intensive treatment unit admission and higher odds of death compared to females.” The death rate was estimated to be 1.4 times more likely for men. “With few exceptions, the sex bias observed in COVID-19 is a worldwide phenomenon,” the study said, adding that, “The confirmation of this sex disparity with global data has important implications for the continuing public health response to this pandemic.”
Analyzing why men were more susceptible to a bigger impact of the disease, the study claimed that there are several “gender-based socio-cultural and behavioral differences” that could contribute to the sex difference — with men more likely to smoke, go out into crowds, and fail to wash their hands with soap, etc. A more likely cause, as stated by the journal, is the “fundamental differences in the immune response between males and females,” the study said, noting that “the male sex hormone testosterone suppresses the immune system.”
“Interestingly, testosterone-deprivation therapy for prostate cancer has been associated with improved outcomes for COVID-19, suggesting that suppression of the immune response by testosterone, as well as the protective effect of estrogen, may underlie the observed sex-bias,” the study suggested. “These data have implications for the clinical management of COVID-19 and highlight the importance of considering sex as a variable in fundamental and clinical research,” the paper said.
This being said, although vaccines are set to roll-out soon, citizens have been advised to adhere to restrictions, face-covering guidelines, as well as social distancing measures, especially since hospitalizations, cases, and deaths, have surged across the country, and it will be long before everyone is inoculated.