A new study has emerged, suggesting that men are more vulnerable to the novel coronavirus infection or COVID-19 as they have a higher level of the enzyme that the virus uses to hijack healthy cells in the body.
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According to the study, men has higher levels of ACE2 receptors that the coronavirus use to attach itself to cells.
Men's Vulnerability to COVID-19
According to a report by Al Jazeera, there are more cases of deaths in men compared to women when looking at the data of most countries hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
Nevertheless, the discrepancy was first noted in China, which is the center of the outbreak and is believed to be where the virus originated.
Based on the report, the death rates of men who were infected with COVID-19 reached 2.8%, which is lower than the 1.7% of women.
Meanwhile, data from Italy and South Korea showed the same.
There is a 7.2% death rate in men in Italy, compared to 4.1% in women, while 54% of the deaths in South Korea were men.
High Levels of Enzymes in Men
In a study that was published this Monday by the European Heart Journal, it was discovered that the Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor, which the novel coronavirus uses to bind with a healthy cell, is more diffused in men than in women.
Researchers were able to come to this conclusion by measuring the ACE2 receptors in the blood samples that were taken from more than 3,500 elderly heart failure patients from 11 European countries.
The samples were from both men and women.
However, the study started before the COVID-19 outbreak and did not include patients of the pandemic, according to a professor of cardiology Adriaan Voors from the University Medical Center (UMC) Groningen in The Netherlands.
Voors was one of the study's lead authors.
Nevertheless, Voors and his team saw significant overlaps with their study when experts began pointing to ACE2 receptors as a vital element of the coronavirus infection.
Now, their study is one of the top answers when people are researching why men are more vulnerable to COVID-19 compared to women.
Dr. Iziah Sama from UMC Groningen, another author of the study, said that when they found out that one of the "strongest biomarkers" of the coronavirus infection is the ACE2 receptors, he immediately realized the potential of their study in explaining why men are "more likely to die from COVID-19 than women.
"High levels of ACE2 are present in the lungs and, therefore, it is thought to play a crucial role in the progression of lung disorders related to COVID-19," Dr. Voors explained, according to Business Insider.
More Theories About Coronavirus and Men
Besides the possible increased diffusion of ACE2 receptors in men's systems, various other theories have been given by different experts to explain the situation possibly.
Some say that their vulnerability has got something to do with the preexisting conditions that worsen their infection, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, or that men tend to smoke more than women, which could also worsen their disease.
In addition, some studies suggest men are less likely to wash their hands than women, which is something that can help protect against the novel coronavirus.