New Evidence Shows Why Men are More Susceptible to Severe Cases of COVID-19
There is still a lot we don’t understand about COVID-19, however a new study from Yale University is taking a closer look at the sex-based differences that explain why men are more likely than women to suffer severe and deadly cases of COVID-19, according to IFLScience.com.
A small study of 98 patients, ages 61-64 and admitted to Yale-New Haven Hospital with mild to moderate confirmed cases of COVID-19, determined that it all has to do with key differences in the immune response during the early phases of infection. The researchers analyzed nasal saliva and blood samples from the COVID-positive patients and non-infected control subjects to compare “how the body-mounted an immune response to the disease.
Their findings boiled down to one key difference: women produce more T-cells (a type of white blood cell that attacks specific foreign particles and tend to be associated with better disease outcomes), while men produce more cytokines (a part of the immune system that can be counterproductive in severe COVID-19 cases when the immune system overreacts in an attempt to control infection, leading to hyperinflammation).
“We now have clear data suggesting that the immune landscape in COVID-19 patients is considerably different between sexes and that these differences may underlie heightened disease susceptibility in men,” senior study author Akiko Iwaski said in a statement. “Collectively, these data suggest we need different strategies to ensure that treatments and vaccines are equally effective for both women and men.”
Read the full study in Nature.