In the risk groups for covid-19, people with cardiovascular disease, diabetes and old age are found. But in addition to these factors, it has been seen that men are over-represented among the patients being cared for on intensive care. 

Study reflects the trend in Sweden 

Men suffer worse from covid-19 disease than women, a new study from the journal Frontier of Health shows. The study showed that 70 percent of those who died in the corona virus in China were men. Swedish intensive care units see a similar trend. Among the patients who do not belong to the older risk group, three-quarters of those who are intensive care men. 

Differences in the immune system 

Petter Brodin, a physician and researcher in immunology, believes that the explanation may lie in the fact that the immune system differs between men and women.  

- Men have a different immune system than women and they are more likely to develop a more severe disease. We are not sure why this is the case, but we already know that women also respond better to vaccines, he says.  

An enzyme may be behind 

The study also showed the same pattern in patients with SARS, which is another type of coronavirus. What both viruses have in common is that they attach to the body's cells via an enzyme called ACE2. There is a theory that children are mildly affected as the enzyme in them is undeveloped. Men and people with cardiovascular disease and diabetes have higher levels of ACE2, which could be an explanation for being seriously ill, the researchers said. Petter Brodin, on the other hand, believes that there should be no links between ACE2 and a more serious disease course. 

- I don't think the enzyme will make you more susceptible to an infection. There are other studies that show that high levels of ACE2 do not lead to a complicated disease picture, he says.  

The article is published in Frontier of Health, and can be read here.