Amid the ongoing health crises caused by COVID-19, every piece of news brings us a fresh supply of anxiety. And now a new study has found that the deadly infection poses a higher threat to men. According to the study carried out by Women's Health Research at Yale University, women may have a better immune response to fighting off the novel coronavirus than men.
The study, published on August 26 in the journal Nature, stated that women battling with COVID-19 exhibit a healthier and sustained immune response via the body’s T cells than men. The research may help countries, guiding a gender-based approach to the deadly infection’s treatment and care for those infected with the deadly disease.
According to the study, T-cells present in the human body are a type of white blood cells that work towards eliminating infected cells in the adaptive immune system. The teams of researchers, who conducted the research, pointed out that poor T-cell responses to the novel coronavirus, is correlated with a poorer disease outcome in men.
Since the very beginning of the pandemic it has been clear that men, particularly older males or those with underlying health conditions are at a higher risk of dying due to deadly infection than women of the similar age. As per the study, men globally account for nearly 60 per cent of fatalities caused from the coronavirus.
The group of researchers assessed 98 patients aged 18 years or older and admitted to the Yale New Haven Hospital with mild to moderate symptoms who had confirmed positive tests for COVID-19. Patients were 61 to 64 years old on an average. The researchers collected blood, navel, and saliva samples from non-infected control subjects as well as patients with the disease who were treated at the hospital.
The team monitored patients over time to observe and understand how initial immune responses differ in those who recover from the deadly disease compared to those who progress to the worst stages of the virus. The researchers found that women had a better immune response than men involving T lymphocytes, which are a type of white blood cell that can identify viruses and eliminate them.
As per the study, even older women had a better immune response, however older men had weaker T cell activity. The study also stated that the older the men were, the weaker was the immune response. According to the research, men also produced more cytokines. Excessive cytokines in severe cases of COVID-19 causes fluid to build up in the lungs, depriving the body of oxygen and leading to harmful and deadly consequences.
According to the study, the higher concentrations of cytokines in men make these outcomes more likely, while those females who showed higher cytokine levels also had higher chances of the infection being worsened. According to the team, this could imply that men and women might need different treatments.
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