Men with COVID-19 much more likely to need intensive care and die

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In a new study, researchers found that men with COVID-19 are three times more likely to require intensive care than women and are at a much higher risk of dying from the disease.

The research was conducted by a team at Cape Town University.

In the study, the team analyzed over three million confirmed coronavirus cases from 46 countries and 44 states in the US.

They found that the risk of COVID-19 infection was the same for women and men.

But men are almost three times more likely than women to be hospitalized in an intensive care unit and are 39% more likely to die from the virus.

These findings may help doctors to recognize that sex is a risk factor for severe disease when managing patients.

According to the team, sex differences in both the innate and adaptive immune systems have been previously reported and may account for the female advantage in COVID-19.

Women naturally produce more type I interferon proteins that limit the abnormal immune response known as a cytokine storm, believed to play a role in provoking severe forms of COVID-19.

The female oestradiol hormone may also help women to fend off grave forms of the virus, as it boosts the response of T cells—which kill infected cells—and increases the production of antibodies.

In contrast, the male sex hormone testosterone suppresses the immune system.

Sex-based differences in co-morbidities linked to severe COVID-19 may put men at outsize risk, they wrote in the study, says the team.

Previous vaccines to other infections have shown differences in response between women and men.

One author of the study is Kate Webb.

The study is published in Nature Communications.

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