COVID: the Risk of Death is 70% Higher for Male than for Female Patients

Evidence increasingly indicates that male sex is a risk factor for more severe disease and death from COVID-19. Male bias in COVID-19 mortality is observed in nearly all countries with available sex-disaggregated data, and the risk of death in males is ∼1.7 times higher than in females. Aging is strongly associated with higher risk of death in both sexes, but at all ages above 30 years, males have a significantly higher mortality risk, rendering older males the most vulnerable group. Sex differences are intertwined with differences in gender roles socially and with behavioral factors, which also influence COVID-19 incidence and outcomes. However, there are also possible biological mechanisms of male sex bias that affect the severity of COVID-19, particularly with respect to immune responses.

Sex differences beyond sex organs are present across species and extend to physiological systems, including the immune system. Infection by different pathogens results in differential immune responses and disease outcomes by sex, and although the pattern depends on age and other host factors, male sex is more often associated with lower immune responses and higher susceptibility and/or vulnerability to infections in animals. This is generally also the case in humans: Male patients have higher viral loads for hepatitis B virus (HBV) and HIV. Conversely, females generally mount a more robust immune response to vaccines, such as influenza vaccines. However, the heightened immune responses in females can also lead to detrimental immunopathology in infections.

The physiological response to virus infection is initiated when virus replication is detected by pattern recognition receptors. This leads to two antiviral programs by the infected cells.

90% of patients contaminated by COVID-19 Have Lost Their Sense Of Smell

An European study led by a French research team at Hopital Foch in Paris (Suresnes) has concluded that nearly 90% of  contaminated patients by coronavirus have lost their sense of smell.

Patients with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infection were recruited from 12 European hospitals. The following epidemiological and clinical outcomes have been studied: age, sex, ethnicity, comorbidities, general and otolaryngological symptoms. Patients completed olfactory and gustatory questionnaires based on the smell and taste component of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, and the short version of the Questionnaire of Olfactory Disorders-Negative Statements (sQOD-NS).

A total of 417 mild-to-moderate COVID-19 patients completed the study (263 females). The most prevalent general symptoms consisted of cough, myalgia and loss of appetite. Face pain and nasal obstruction were the most specific otolaryngological symptoms85.6% and 88.0% of patients reported olfactory and gustatory dysfunctions, respectively.

There was a significant association between both disorders (p<0.001). Olfactory dysfunction (OD) appeared before the other symptoms in 11.8% of cases. The sQO-NS scores were significantly lower in patients with presumed anosmia compared with normosmic or presumed hyposmic individuals (p=0.001). Among the 18.2% of patients without nasal obstruction or rhinorrhea, 79.7% had olfactory dysfunction. The early olfactory recovery rate was 44.0%. Females were significantly more affected by olfactory and gustatory dysfunctions than males (p=0.001).
The researchers stated that
olfactory and gustatory disorders are prevalent symptoms in European COVID-19 patients, who may not have nasal symptoms. The sudden olfactory and gustatory dysfunctions need to be recognized by the international scientific community as important symptoms of the COVID-19 infection.