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Does coronavirus affect men more than women?

The absence of data makes it impossible to confirm whether covid-19 affects men more; however, the number of male deaths has been higher

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  • 13/04/2020
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Does coronavirus affect men more than women?

Health studies and policies have lacked the gender perspective, which we see in the fight against the covid-19 pandemic. It is not assertive to what extent the disease affects men and women; doctors point out.

The scientific journal The Lancet published the article "Covid-19: the gender impacts of the outbreak," where it ensures that there is no knowledge of the impact of the virus on the female and male body.

Although cases of contagion are the same between men and women, there have been differences in mortality between the sexes.

The answer to the question: does Coronavirus affect men more than women? It becomes more complex because the data on infections is incomplete.

Covid-19 is lethal to men

El País indicates that the incidence of the disease is similar in both sexes, but the mortality is not. Male comorbidities are a determining factor for the virus to be lethal to them.

In Spain, the profile that dies from contagion is man, over 80 years old, with previous pathologies, according to a report by the Carlos III / ISCIII Health Institute. "It shows that although the disease only affects men a little more (52%), the number of men who die (376) is almost double that of women (190)," the study pointed out.

In addition to this, the director of the Center for Coordination of Health Alerts and Emergencies, Fernando Simón said:

"The disease affects more certain groups of risk: hypertensive, people with respiratory or diabetic pathologies have higher mortality, (these diseases) affect more men than women; therefore, it is normal that they suffer more lethality."

Lethality is related to age and comorbidities; in Spain, men have more than women.

Research with a gender perspective

A John Hopkins University study, led by Sabra Klein, from the department of molecular microbiology and immunology, revealed that the difference might be in estrogens in both men and women. "Estrogens can stimulate aspects of immunity that are important in eliminating a viral infection and responding well to vaccines," explained Klein.

Although there are no other studies that coincide with Klein's premise, estrogens demonstrate to trigger protective factors against the common flu.

On the other hand, Janine Austin Clayton, associate director of research on Women's Health at the National Institute of Health of the United States, as well as Klein pointed out that social and cultural factors that contribute to the high mortality of children must also be taken into account.

"According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American women were 33% more likely than men to see a doctor when they felt unwell," says Clayton.

Some researchers also point to hormonal and immune system differences that may have a role in response to the Coronavirus, but they are unproven speculation, as they have known this disease for three months.

For this reason, researchers Clare Wenham, Julia Smith, Rosemary Morgan, who published in The Lancet, urge the scientific community to research with a gender perspective so that it recognized how the outbreaks would affect men and women. It is a fundamental step to understand the primary and secondary effects of a health emergency on different individuals and communities and to create effective and equitable policies and interventions.

Traducción: Valentina K. Yanes