Men are at a greater risk of death and slow recovery from the coronavirus, and they have their pair of balls to blame for the ill-fated condition. A study has found that proteins found in testicles help coronavirus linger a lot longer in the male patients.
The pandemic, which originated from Wuhan region in China, has infected over 2.4 million people and killed more than 165,000 of the global population.
Coronavirus attaches with the proteins produced by testicles
The study recording the recovery of 68 coronavirus patients in Mumbai found that the higher quantity of protein, called angiotensin converting enzyme 2, or ACE2, being produced by testicles is leading to the slow rate of recovery in male patients.
According to New York Post, the coronavirus attaches itself to a the ACE2 protein present in the body Though ACE2 is also present in the lungs and gastrointestinal tract, the male glands produce it at a higher rate.
The study found that the virus stays in the testicles for a longer period as compared to other parts of the body because the male sex glands are separated from the immune system, thus causing the delay in recovery.
The study, published on MedRxix, was conducted by Dr. Aditi Shastri, an oncologist at the Bronx based Montefiore Medical Center and Mumbai-based Dr. Jayanthi Shastri, a microbiologist at the Kasturba Hospital for Infectious Diseases. The research is yet to be peer-reviewed.
Calling testicles as 'reservoirs' for the virus, the authors said: "High expression of ACE2 RNA and protein in testes leads to the hypothesis that testicular viral reservoirs may exist and play a role in viral persistence, and should be further investigated by larger clinical studies.These observations demonstrate that male subjects have delayed viral clearance."
Studies have found higher death rate of men due to the virus
The researchers found that 'average amount of time for female patients to be cleared of the virus was four days, while men saw recoveries that on average were two days longer.'
According to a research conducted by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the coronavirus death rate of males in UK is 1,728.2 per 100,000 almost double as compared to the females which stands at 840.9 per 100,000.
In a report published by the New York Times, it was found that even though both the genders are infected almost equally, men are found to be more likely to die than women, with a death rate of 2.8% in men and 1.7% among women.
Science Times reported that during the SARS and MERS outbreaks, caused by a different type of coronavirus, it was men who suffered more. A study conducted in the Chronicles of Internal Medicine, stated that even though women had a higher rate of SARS infection in 2003, men saw a 50 percent higher death rate.
Speaking to Daily Mail Virology Professor Ian Jones from the University of Reading said: :Men generally do worse than women in immunological outcomes, possibly the result of only one X chromosome, and I think that this imbalance is more likely behind the differences seen."