MEDICAL experts have suggested that men may be more vulnerable to the dreaded coronavirus because it lingers more in testicles which are walled off from the body’s immune system preventing males from fighting it aggressively.
Recently compiled data in the dreaded pandemic has shown that worldwide, about 70% of all victims who have succumbed to the virus are male. This has prompted research into what reasons are behind this with researchers tracking the recovery of 68 patients in Mumbai, India, to study the gender disparity of the virus.
According to a preliminary report posted on MedRxix, which hosts unpublished medical research papers that have not been peer reviewed, testicles have been identified as a possible reason behind the gender disparity. Dr Aditi Shastri, an oncologist at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx and her mother, Dr Jayanthi Shastri, a microbiologist at the Kasturba Hospital for Infectious Diseases in Mumbai, said the virus attaches itself to a protein that occurs in high levels in the testicles.
This protein, known as angiotensin converting enzyme 2, or ACE2, is present in the lungs, the gastrointestinal tract and the heart in addition to existing in large quantities in the testicles. However, since testicles are walled off from the immune system, the virus could harbour there for longer periods than the rest of the body, according to the study.
According to the mother-daughter researchers, these findings may explain why women bounce back from the virus more quickly than men. They determined that the average amount of time for female patients to be cleared of the virus was four days, while men saw recoveries that on average were two days longer.
Their study may offer an explanation for reports out of Italy, South Korea, and New York City that men are dying at higher rates from the virus. Others have suggested that men are more vulnerable because they are more likely to smoke, have high blood pressure or suffer coronary artery disease.