Men more likely to catch novel coronavirus? | Updated: 2020-03-28 07:30

Male patients comprise 55.9 percent of 6,013 cases collected from Jan 1 to 29, 2020, according to a study recently published by a research group from Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University on an online academic platform.

In addition, 47 of the 67 asymptomatic infections confirmed in their hospital are women, which show a higher ratio of severity in male cases, according to the study.

The study pointed out that men are more likely to be transmitted by the novel coronavirus and develop severe symptoms. Researchers speculate that this may be due to the different immune mechanisms between the two genders.

Men and women are inherently different in terms of responding to virus infections. Generally, on the premise of the same exposure to the virus, men are more likely to get infected with more viral load than women; whereas when faced with the same level of infections, women may have more severe symptoms and poorer prognosis.

Women have a higher level of immune response than men, including both nonspecific and specific immunity, which enables them to get rid of virus more quickly but suffer from immune overreactions. For example, they often produce higher levels of antibodies and have more serious adverse reactions after anti-viral vaccinations. In addition, sex hormones and the varied levels of immune gene expressions also lead to the gender difference in immune responses.

However, with incomplete data, it is still too early to define the gender vulnerability to the novel coronavirus and severity of symptoms between genders.

The figures under study only cover the period of January, and there are undoubtedly cases of the virus that are not reflected in the data. More data and research are needed to make a convincingly final conclusion.

Moreover, the study has not been peer reviewed nor formally published.

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