Study: Men have higher levels of key enzyme which makes them more vulnerable to COVID-19

Coronavirus

FILE – In this April 7, 2020 file photo, voters observe social distancing guidelines as they wait in line to cast ballots in the presidential primary election in Milwaukee. Wisconsin’s presidential primary election held last month in the face of the coronavirus pandemic drew concern from doctors, voters, poll workers and politicians who warned that having thousands of people leave their homes to cast ballots would further spread the highly contagious virus. Now well beyond the 14-day incubation period for COVID-19, and with a Tuesday special congressional election in northern Wisconsin looming, it remains largely unknown just how many people contracted the virus at the polls on April 7. (AP Photo/Morry Gash File)

(WTVO) — According to a new European study, men’s blood has a higher level of a key enzyme used by COVID-19 to infect cells.

The study may explain why men are more susceptible to coronavirus.

Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is found in the heart, kidneys and other organs at a higher level in men than women, the study from the European Heart Journal says.

“When we found that one of the strongest biomarkers, ACE2, was much higher in men than in women, I realised that this had the potential to explain why men were more likely to die from COVID-19 than women,” said Iziah Sama, a doctor at UMC Groningen.

ACE2 is a receptor on the surface of cells which bind to COVID-19 and allow it to enter and infect the cells.

The study says ACE2 is found in the heart, kidneys, and in tissues lining blood vessels, and the testes.

ACE inhibitors are routinely prescribed to patients with congestive heart failure, diabetes, or kidney disease.

“Our findings do not support the discontinuation of these drugs in COVID-19 patients,” said Adriaan Voors, a professor of cardiology at the University Medical Center (UMC) Groningen in The Netherlands, who co-led the study.

The researchers said the high presence of ACE2 in the testes could explain why men are more vulnerable to COVID-19 infection.

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