CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC UPDATE: NOW IS A GOOD TIME TO HAVE DOUBLE X CHROMOSOMES

By Akin Ojumu

Coronavirus infects and kills more men than women.

That’s what the data suggests worldwide. Although we really don’t know why the Coronavirus seems to target men, and there is no clear explanation for the higher COVID-19 mortality seen in men, it is more likely to be a combination of factors, behavioral and biological.

Biology
For instance, women generally have stronger immune systems than men. This makes women less susceptibility to viral infections and more able to fend off infections than men. The explanation for this is the protective effect that women have by virtue of having X chromosomes and sex hormones, both which play an important role in how the body fights infections. The X chromosome contains a large number of immune-related genes, and because women have two of them, they gain an advantage in fighting disease, according to a recent study in the journal Human Genomics.

In addition to the protective effect of sex hormone and X chromosomes, half of patients infected by Coronavirus are known to have underlying chronic diseases e.g. cardiovascular, cerebrovascular diseases and diabetes. These chronic diseases are more common in older adult males, and they tend to weaken the immune system. The weaker immune functions make it more likely for these older adult males to be infected with Coronavirus.

Behavior
Lastly, in terms of behavioral effect. More men engaged in behaviors that pose more risk to their health than women. We know that men drink more than women, and there are more men who smoke than women. These risky health behaviors adversely affect health outcomes. This is one reason women tend to live longer than men, because men tend to die more frequently from heart disease, cancer, diabetes and respiratory diseases than women.

Our women folks have hundreds of thousands of reasons to hope and cheer. Oh! What wouldn’t I give to be a woman in these dangerous times?

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