A study conducted by Chinese researchers in February had suggested that men are more likely to contract with coronavirus compared with females. The study report also revealed that 68 percent of the people infected with COVID-19 were males. Now, a top researcher has revealed that the most probable cause that increases the susceptibility of men to coronavirus infection is the testosterone level in the male body.
Why are men at risk of coronavirus infection?
Daniel Kelly, a lecturer in biochemistry at the Sheffield Hallam University, believes that testosterone plays a crucial role in elevating the risk of coronavirus among men. It should be noted that testosterone is the male hormone, while oestrogen dominates the female body. Several previous studies had claimed that elevated levels of testosterone in a male body will negatively affect the person's immune system.
"One theory is that the male sex hormone, testosterone, has a dampening effect on the immune system, making men more susceptible to the novel coronavirus. But just how plausible is this theory? An overview of the scientific evidence suggests that oestrogen can improve the immune system and increase immune inflammation whereas testosterone (the male sex hormone) reduces or dampens the response. As a result, women often have less severe infections than men and have significantly stronger immune responses to vaccinations," wrote Kelly in a recent article published in The Conversation.
However, Kelly revealed that coronavirus could lower the testosterone levels in a male body, but still men are at a higher risk of contracting the virus. Theoretically saying, lower testosterone levels should actually increase the immunity of the person, but the body will not be wishing to alter the hormonal level, especially while fighting a deadly disease.
Factors that increase risk of getting infected with coronavirus
As per Kelly, underlying conditions in a human body have direct impacts in determining the severity of coronavirus infection. The researcher also made it clear that age is another factor that elevates the chances of mortality after getting contracted with COVID-19.
"A major factor in how severe infection may become is whether a person has an underlying disease. While this is easy to understand, what is not so clear is the effect that the reduced levels of testosterone that happen during illness have on the likelihood of the infection developing into something more severe in men. As men age, their testosterone levels decrease, offering the possibility that increased severity of infections in elderly men may be due to lower levels of testosterone rather than simply the presence of testosterone" added Kelly.