Men are more susceptible to the coronavirus than women. A large study of several thousand patients shows that men have higher levels of an enzyme in their blood, which plays a role in Covid-19 infection.
It concerns the enzyme ACE2. This is found in the lungs, heart, kidneys and tissues of the blood vessels. Testicles measure particularly high values of this enzyme that stimulates corona.
The researchers think that the enzyme regulation in the male testes could partly explain the higher concentrations of ACE2 in men. This makes men more susceptible to the coronavirus.
Prior to the outbreak of the coronavirus, research leader professor cardiology Adriaan Voors of the UMCG and his colleagues studied the differences in blood markers between men and women. The results were published shortly after the start of the pandemic.
The lead author of the study, Dr. Iziah Sama, says, “We did research on differences in biomarker profiles between men and women. When we found that ACE2 in particular was much higher in men than in women, I realized it might explain why men were more at risk of dying from Covid-19 than women. ”
Heart patients from 11 European countries
The researchers measured ACE2 concentrations in blood samples from two groups of heart failure patients from 11 European countries. The first group consisted of 1,485 men and 537 women, aged 69 and 75 on average. The researchers then confirmed their findings in a second group of 1123 men and 575 women with mean ages of 74 and 76 years, respectively.
Research leader Voors states that patients with heart failure who are previously treated with medicines did not have higher concentrations of the enzyme ACE2 in their blood. It has previously been shown that medication for heart failure actually increases the risk of the coronavirus. The Groningen study indicates that this is not the case. The researchers argue that heart patients who receive corona should continue to take their medicines.
The study will be published in a special edition of the on Thursday, May 14 European Heart Journal about COVID-19 and cardiovascular disease.