The coronavirus cases in men are higher as compared to women globally. Also, the deaths due to the virus have been recorded more among males. Recently, a new study found that a higher number of coronavirus cases in men are due to their weaker immune response.
The study published recently in Nature.
According to the researchers, males do not produce an adequate number of immune cells necessary to fight off the coronavirus. This leads to higher cases and deaths among them. However, the immune response in women is efficient against the virus and does not degrade with age as observed in males.
The research was conducted by scientists from Yale University, New Haven. The findings of the study also suggest that there might be a requirement for separate vaccines for both of the sexes depending upon their immune response.
Dr. Akiko Iwasaki is the senior author of this study and the professor of immunology, Yale University School of Medicine. He said that the data from this study suggests the immune response in males and females is different. This contributes to the higher coronavirus cases in men. The study shows that the treatment and vaccines should be developed according to the immune response of both sexes.
The global coronavirus deaths among men are 60 percent which shows they suffer from a more severe infection. This research included 17 male and 22 female coronavirus patients in this study. All of the participants were previously admitted to the Yale-New Haven Hospital.
Dr. Iwasaki said that the study did not include any patients who needed a ventilator as they wanted to test the natural immunity of the patients. The researchers took samples from control subjects having no infections. They also took blood, urine, saliva, stool samples, and nasopharyngeal swabs.
According to the results, both males and females had the same viral load and number of antibodies in the blood. However, researchers observed the difference in the early phase of coronavirus infection. Males produced a higher level of cytokines, an inflammatory protein produced by the immune system. The level of cytokines was lower in women.
Cytokines cause inflammation in the body at the site of infection. These proteins are the part of the first line of defense of the body. However, the overload of these proteins in coronavirus patients causes a condition called a cytokine storm. This involves a higher inflammatory response which becomes harmful for the body.
The cytokine storm occurs when the immune system starts acting against the body along with fighting the coronavirus. This causes severe damage to the tissues of different organs. It can also cause distress in the respiratory system which damages the organs and even leads to death.
The researchers found that this phenomenon causes a higher number of deaths in men due to coronavirus. Since they produce a large number of cytokines, their body experiences a more severe inflammatory response.
The study also found that the T-cells in men became weaker with age. However, this was not the case among women. This factor also leads to a severe coronavirus infection in men.
Even though the study does not explain the reason behind these factors, it puts a finger on the cause of more coronavirus cases in males. The difference between the immune landscape of men and women causes a difference between the severity of infection in both sexes.