Coronavirus has exposed a serious gender split that has prompted scientists to research why it is that men are getting sicker – and more often dying – from the killer disease.
Studies have shown on several occasions that men become much sicker than women with a whopping 82% of intensive care unit patients being male.
In the US, more reports have been carried out into the disease and while outcomes varied between states – it was found overall about 5% more men died from the disease than women.
Dr John Swartzberg at UC Berkeley told The San Francisco Chronicle: “The data has consistently held up that males have a higher mortality rate than females. It appears that men don’t handle diseases as well as females.”
In this regard, coronavirus is like other infectious diseases that have a worse effect on men than women.
Dr Faranak Fattahi, a stem cell biologist at the University of California San Francisco believes the root cause of the disparity is testosterone.
It was suspected as being a major factor after a disproportionate number of bald men in Spain were hospitalised with coronavirus.
He said: “The hormone itself changes the number of receptors on the cells.
“What causes baldness is high testosterone, so it’s the same underlying cause. Male sex hormones are increasing the risk of Covid-19 severity.”
Dr Fattahi examined 500 patients in the UK and US, many with prostate disease, which is also linked to having high testosterone levels.
He said: “Men that had higher levels of androgen were more likely to need intensive care.”
The researcher believes that the virus somehow activates hormones that plays roles in puberty and male development.
This form of testosterone then reacts with the enzyme TMPRSS2 that makes human cells more receptive to the coronavirus.
It is believed it could latch onto the coronavirus spokes and then guide them inside cells.
The development comes as coronavirus cases reach 3million in the US as hospitals hit capacity.
Covid-19 has killed more than 131,000 people in America – which claims the highest death toll and number of infections worldwide – and 60,000 cases were recorded just yesterday.
Texas broke its single day-record, with 10,028 new cases tallied.
Dozens of intensive care units at Florida hospitals near Miami, Orlando and Tampa have reached capacity, CNN reports.
Staffing, beds and ventilators are in short supply, with fears more hospitals will be next.
A hospital in Weslaco, Texas, has set up a tent outside to deal with Covid-19 patients.