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Males of all ages more affected by COVID-19 than females, study finds

Date:
January 14, 2021
Source:
PLOS
Summary:
Males are more likely to test positive for COVID-19, more likely to have complications and more likely to die from the virus than females, independent of age, according to a new study.
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Males are more likely to test positive for COVID-19, more likely to have complications and more likely to die from the virus than females, independent of age, according to a new study published this week in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Farhaan Vahidy of Houston Methodist Research Institute, US, and colleagues.

As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds and evolves across the globe, researchers have identified population sub-groups with higher levels of disease vulnerability, such as those with advanced age or certain pre-existing conditions. Small studies from China and Europe have indicated that males tend to experience higher disease severity compared to females. However a comprehensive analysis of COVID sex in a large and diverse US metropolitan area has been lacking.

In the new study, researchers used data from a large healthcare provider in the Houston, Texas metropolitan area to determine the associations between sex and COVID-19 epidemiology. Data on COVID testing, hospital stays, mortality and demographics were extracted from Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) of all 96,496 adults over 18 years old who were tested for SARS-CoV-2 by the health system between March 6 and August 22, 2020.

Overall, 15.5% (95% CI 15.3-15.8) of individuals in the cohort tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. After adjusting for sociodemographic factors and comorbidities, males had a higher likelihood of SARS-CoV-2 positivity (aOR 1.39, 95% CI 1.33-1.45) than females. Similarly, the proportion of patients requiring ICU care was significantly higher among males (34.1% (32.2-36.0)) as compared to females (27.6% (25.8-29.5)), OR: 1.36 (1.20-1.53). Moreover, more males (19.0% (17.5-20.6)) underwent mechanical ventilation than females (14.7% (13.3-16.2)), OR: 1.36 (1.17-1.59) and the proportion of males who experienced in-hospital mortality (11.6% (10.4-13.0)) was significantly higher as compared to females 8.3% (7.3-9.6), OR: 1.44 (1.18-1.75). The authors conclude that there is a clear and strong independent association between male sex and SARS-CoV-2 susceptibility, complications and poor outcomes and say that understanding sex differences in the disease is a fundamental step toward improved disease management and intervention strategies for both men and women.

The authors add: "Males seem to be more likely to contract the SRAS-CoV-2 virus and also have a poor clinical course and outcomes related to COVID-19, compared to females. The exact contribution of gender and sex factors in susceptibility and outcomes of COVID-19 need further investigation."


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Journal Reference:

  1. Farhaan S. Vahidy, Alan P. Pan, Hilda Ahnstedt, Yashasvee Munshi, Huimahn A. Choi, Yordanos Tiruneh, Khurram Nasir, Bita A. Kash, Julia D. Andrieni, Louise D. McCullough. Sex differences in susceptibility, severity, and outcomes of coronavirus disease 2019: Cross-sectional analysis from a diverse US metropolitan area. PLOS ONE, 2021; 16 (1): e0245556 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0245556

Cite This Page:

PLOS. "Males of all ages more affected by COVID-19 than females, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 January 2021. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/01/210114095759.htm>.
PLOS. (2021, January 14). Males of all ages more affected by COVID-19 than females, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2024 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/01/210114095759.htm
PLOS. "Males of all ages more affected by COVID-19 than females, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/01/210114095759.htm (accessed April 23, 2024).

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