Recently Union Health Ministry announced that more men than women have infected by the coronavirus in India. Of the COVID-19 patients in India, 76 percent are men while women constitute just 24 percent.
This trend has been observed everywhere in the world. In case the men and women are equally attacked by the virus, researchers found the death rate is far higher among the men.
Why men are more susceptible to coronavirus infection than women?
Here is the secret! Men’s blood is found to have higher levels than women of an enzyme that paves the path for the coronavirus entry into human organs especially the lungs.
According to a European study, this is the reason for the men’s more vulnerability to infection with COVID-19.
The enzyme is called Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). It is widely found in the heart, kidney, lungs, and other organs of men. The ACE2 is thought to play a key role in how the infection spreads to the lungs.
The study published in the European Heart Journal also found a mechanism to check this. Some drugs which are called ACE inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) have reportedly been found to check the ACE2 concentrations and reduced the risk of being infected by the coronavirus.
Dr Adriaan Voors, a professor of cardiology at the University Medical Centre (UMC) Groningen in The Netherlands said their findings would not support the discontinuation of these drugs in COVID-19 patients as has been suggested by some reports.
Prof Voors said: “ACE2 is a receptor on the surface of the cells. It binds to the coronavirus and allows it to enter and infect healthy cells after it has been modified by another protein on the surface of the cell, called TMPRSS2. High levels of ACE2 are present in the lungs and, therefore it is thought to play a crucial role in the progression of lungs disorders related to COVID-19.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has infected more than 2 million people across the globe and killed almost 277,000 million. Death and Infection rates point to men being more likely than women to contract the disease and suffer severe or critical complications if they do.
Voor’s team measured ACE2 concentrations in blood samples taken from more than 3500 heart failure patients from 11 European countries.
“When we found that one of the strongest biomarkers, ACE2, was much higher in men than in women, I realised that this had the potential to explain why men were more likely to die from COVID-19 than women,’ said Iziah Sama, a doctor at UMC and firth author the report.
ACE2 is a receptor on the surface of the cells which binds to the new coronavirus allows it to enter and infect the cells.