European research helps explain why coronavirus hits men harder than women: An enzyme

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A study by 11 European countries may help explain why the coronavirus seems to infect men more than women and affects them more severely.

Men represent 58.1 percent of the total number of people who test positive for COVID-19, while women represent 41.9 percent, according to the study.

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The coronavirus statistics also shows that men have a higher mortality rate than women, as 70 percent of the patients who died of COVID-19 in Italy were men, and almost 61 percent of coronavirus patients who died in New York City were men.

“Men appear to be especially vulnerable to SARS-CoV-2,” the researchers said in their paper which is published in the European Heart Journal.

The researchers found that men have higher concentrations of the "angiotensin-converting enzyme 2," or ACE2 in their blood than women. The coronavirus uses ACE2 receptors to infect healthy cells.

This study also explained that the ACE2 enzyme is increased in people with heart failure.

The coronavirus is known to be extremely dangerous to the elderly and people with chronic diseases such as heart disease.

The researchers stressed that participants in the study taking blood pressure medication to block the effect of this enzyme, known as ACE2 inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), did not have higher levels of ACE2. This supports the evidence that the drugs do not increase an individual’s risk of getting infected with the coronavirus.

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