Testicles may make men more vulnerable to Covid-19, new study shows
The coronavirus could linger in the testicles, making men prone to longer, more severe cases of the illness, a new study has shown.
According to the study, scientists tracked the recovery of 68 patients in Mumbai, India, to study the gender disparity of the virus, which have caused severe illness in men, according to a preliminary report posted on the MedRix website.
Dr Aditi Shastri, an oncologist at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, and Dr Jayanthi Shastri, a microbiologist at the Kasturba Hospital for Infectious Diseases in Mumbai, claims Covid-19 can attach itself to a specific protein that is produced in high levels in the testicles.
In addition to the large amounts in the testicles, the protein, angiotensin, is also found in the lungs, the gastrointestinal tract, and the heart.
According to the study, the testicles are blocked off from the body’s immune system, which allows the virus to remain in the testicles longer than the rest of the body. Both Dr Jyanthi and Dr Aditi have said the recent findings may explain why women recover more quickly than men.
The average amount of time for female patients to recover from the disease is four days, while men’s recovery time on average is two days longer, according to the report posted on MedRix.
“These observations demonstrate that male subjects have delayed viral clearance,” the preliminary report said, adding that the testicles may be serving as “reservoirs” for the virus.
The study offers some insight into reports from New York, South Korea, and Italy that men are dying at a higher rate due to the virus, according to the NY Post.
Other reports suggest that men are more acceptable to contracting the virus because they are more likely to smoke, have high blood pressure, or suffer coronary artery disease.
Another report published on News Scientists suggests that the first signs of a sex difference in Covid-19 severity emerged from hospital records in Wuhan shortly after the city locked down.
On 30 January, a team at Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine published a report on 99 Covid-19 patients who were admitted to Jinyintan Wuhan hospital between 1 January and 20 January.
They found that among those admitted, men outnumbered women by more than two to one.
There has also been a sex difference among deaths. Mortality data from 21 hospitals in Wuhan between 21 and 30 January, for example, revealed that 75 per cent of those who died were men.
Since then, larger studies from other countries have backed up these earlier findings.
In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, for example, around 70 percent of critically ill patients admitted to intensive care have been male, and a higher proportion of men than women have died.
A study of more than 4000 Covid-19 patients in New York City hospitals found that 62 per cent were male.