A Dutch study suggests the reason why men have been hit harder by COVID-19 might be because compared to women, men have higher concentrations of a blood enzyme that helps the new coronavirus infect human cells.
TUESDAY, May 12, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Since the coronavirus pandemic began, rates of hospital admission and death from COVID-19 have been significantly higher in men than women.
Now, new Dutch research suggests a reason why: Compared to women, men have higher concentrations of a blood enzyme that helps the new coronavirus infect human cells.
The enzyme is called angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2).
"ACE2 is a receptor on the surface of cells," explained lead researcher Dr. Adriaan Voors, a professor of cardiology at the University Medical Center Groningen, in the Netherlands. His team published their findings May 11 in the European Heart Journal.
ACE2 "binds to the coronavirus and allows it to enter and infect healthy cells," Voors explained in a journal news release. "High levels of ACE2 are present in the lungs and, therefore, it is thought to play a crucial role in the progression of lung disorders related to COVID-19."