In a new study, researchers found that men are more likely to test positive for COVID-19, have complications and die from the virus than women, independent of age.
They found males seem to be more likely to contract the SARS-CoV-2 virus and also have a poor clinical course and outcomes related to COVID-19, compared to females
The research was conducted by a team at Houston Methodist.
As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds and evolves across the globe, researchers have identified population sub-groups with higher disease vulnerability, such as those with advanced age or certain pre-existing conditions.
Small studies from China and Europe have shown that males tend to experience higher disease severity compared to females.
However, a comprehensive gender analysis of COVID-19 in the U.S. has been lacking.
In the study, the team used data from the Houston Methodist COVID-19 Surveillance and Outcomes Registry.
Data on COVID testing, hospital stays, mortality and demographics were extracted from 96,496 adults over 18 who were tested for SARS-CoV-2 by the health system between March 6 and Aug. 22, 2020.
Overall, 15.5% of people were tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. Males had a higher likelihood of SARS-CoV-2 positivity than females.
Similarly, the proportion of patients requiring ICU care was much higher among males at 34.1% as compared to females at 27.6%.
Moreover, 19.0% of males underwent mechanical ventilation, compared to 14.7% of females, and the proportion of males who experienced in-hospital mortality was much higher at 11.6% as compared to 8.3% of females.
The researchers conclude that there is a clear and strong link between male sex and SARS-CoV-2 susceptibility, complications and poor outcomes.
Understanding gender differences in the disease is a fundamental step toward improved disease management and intervention for both men and women.
One author of the study is Farhaan Vahidy, Ph.D., M.B.B.S., M.P.H.
The study is published in PLOS ONE.
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