As the coronavirus brushes through the globe, many countries have reported that men seem to be battling with COVID-19 worse than women are. For example, Italy reported that 64% of the deceased in the country were men, Spain, 60%, and Germany reported 59% of their deceased were men. Some experts said this is because men are more likely to get certain diseases that women are not as likely to get (like hypertension and diabetes which are conditions that raise the risk for severe COVID-19). Another reason why men are dying more from COVID-19 could be the immune system itself. Several proteins that defend the body against viruses do not work the same in men and women. Some researchers presume driven sex hormones and genes may be protecting women from the worst complications of the coronavirus. Studies have shown that women have a stronger immune system than men, which makes them less susceptible to viruses. Having a stronger immune system makes women more susceptible to having an autoimmune disease, which makes one’s immune system attack itself. Other studies have proven that this stronger female immune system is derived from our innate and adaptive immune response.
The toll-like receptor 7, a component of the innate immune system, is the one responsible for recognized molecules found on viruses. This gene for this toll-like receptor is found specifically on the X chromosome. Females having two X chromosomes and males having just one show why women have stronger defenses against COVID-19. Having more toll-like receptors gives women a jump start to better protect themselves from outside threats. Also, the production of more neutralizing antibodies ( the type that stops viruses from entering the cell), is greater in females.
Another factor that betters the female survival curve (in the COVID-19 pandemic) is the fact that women secrete estrogen, which also influences the innate and adaptive immune systems in our bodies. Estrogen regulates a variety of genes for immune system proteins that make more antibodies. Studies in mice have shown that female mice are equally affected by the COVID-19 if they have their estrogen source removed from them. They were equally susceptible to the virus as men.