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Gender difference between coronaviruses: Scientists are trying to explain why men die of COVID-19 much more often



When the Florida couple Cecilia and Marvin Lawton were infected with the coronavirus, their daughter Briana feared that their mother was most at risk from high blood pressure, diabetes and respiratory problems due to her history. But when Cecilia recovered at home, Marvin lost his fight against the virus. He died in the hospital at the age of 60.

“I really didn’t expect my father to be as bad as he was,” Briana Lawton told Dr. Tara Narula from CBS News. “I really expected these roles to be switched.”

Researchers have studied the effects of the coronavirus on men and women and found that men are more likely to suffer worse results from the disease and are up to 2.4 times more likely to die.

Cecilia said her daughter, a nurse, is still struggling with the guilt that she cannot save her father.

The gender gap of the coronavirus is similar to that of diseases such as influenza and hepatitis, from which women tend to recover faster than men. Women are also generally more responsive to vaccines.

“One of the biggest questions I have is the extent to which these differences between men and women are mediated by our hormones compared to our genes,”

; said Sabra Klein, who at Johns Hopkins explained the gender differences in immune response to viruses and vaccinations examined.

Some scientists believe the benefit lies in the X chromosome, which carries genes that are linked to immune function. Women have two X chromosomes, while men only have one.

Dr. Sara Ghandehari examines whether the COVID-19 The gender gap could be related to the pregnancy support hormones estrogen, testosterone and progesterone. She does a study of this theory after seeing that pregnant women tend to “mildly present” the virus.

In the study, 40 men infected with COVID-19 were given a five-day progesterone regimen to see if this increased their chances of survival at eye level with women.

“The hope is that progesterone will get to the disease when it is at a level where there is no overwhelming amount of inflammation,” said Ghandehari.

Another Florida family, the Begazos, saw husband and wife Leo and Carolina infected with the corona virus.

Similar to the Lawtons, Carolina Begazo had underlying conditions – a history of pneumonia and asthma – that should have made the virus harder for her. While Carolina got stronger at South Bay Hospital near Tampa, Leo was intubated at the same hospital with a 40% chance of survival.

A month after defeating and releasing the virus, he was still weak and needed additional oxygen.

“I don’t have asthma, I don’t smoke, I don’t have COPD, I don’t have high blood pressure, I don’t have high cholesterol, nothing,” said Leo Begazo. “I should recover faster and easier, and actually it was the other way around.”


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