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The number of Infected and deaths from the Coronavirus from China continues to increase worldwide. In addition to China, other countries, such as Iran, South Korea and Italy to pay sudden increases in the case. Alone in the Northern Italian Region of Lombardy there are 165 proven infections with the Coronavirus (medical Name “Sars-CoV-2”) – four people died. In China, the proof-of-infected 77.150 people with the pathogen. The number of deaths rose to 2592. The vast number of new deaths and infections in the severely affected Region of Hubei in Central China.

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During the case, the rise in the number of start researchers in order to understand the pathogen better. Chinese authorities publish in the last week, the most comprehensive disease report to of the lung disease Covid-19. It provides an important data on complications and mortality rates are broken down by rate detailed. The data come exclusively from China, and are therefore only of limited use in other regions to transfer.

The risk for severe course of the disease is increasing, therefore with increasing age – even the chronically Ill are considered to be particularly at risk. Men and women are, therefore, approximately the same number of times. However, the mortality rate among men (2.8 percent) is significantly higher than in women (1.7 per cent). What is the reason?

This question is investigated by a reporter for the New York Times. The higher mortality rate among men may be for many lay people, surprisingly – for a researcher it is not. “This is a pattern that we have seen in the case of many viral infections of the respiratory tract,” said the researcher Sabra Klein told the newspaper. The scientist is researching, among other things, to gender differences in Virus infections. Women are better at it, to combat virus, says Klein. Also, the immune response to vaccination is increased in comparison to men. The same applies to the so-called immune memory, which protects the body after recovery from long-term infection re-infection.

Strong immune response – a blessing and a curse at the same time

The reasons for the strong immune system are still unclear – the research of the phenomenon is still in its infancy. The ability to bear children, could play a role in this. The immune system of infants is not yet developed well – they have to rely, therefore, on the mother’s milk protective anti-body. This passive immunization by the mother is also referred to as nest protection. Children take the mother’s milk antibodies against, for example, measles virus, in the first months of life have a lower risk for infection with the pathogen.


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You may also see the female sex hormone Estrogen, or the basic genetics of women to play a role. On the X-Chromoson genes, which are associated with the immune system are. Women have known two of these (XX) – men, in addition to the Y chromosome, however, only one (XY).

To have a strong immune response but also entails potential disadvantages, stresses the Doctor Janine Clayton in an interview with the New York Times . The immune system of women is “exuberant” than men, which could also explain the fact that so many women suffer from autoimmune diseases such as Lupus. This leads to an Overreaction of the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s own structures, for example organs. Around 80 percent of all people suffering from autoimmune diseases are women, stresses Clayton.

The Power of the life-style

In addition to the immune system, lifestyle factors may play a role: men smoke more than women and eat tend to be more unhealthy, which increases your risk for type 2 Diabetes and high blood pressure. In China, every second man smokes – the two percent just once in women.

Data from the “Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention” shows that it is primarily lifestyle-related medical conditions, the the risk for a serious Covid-19-course: to increase The mortality rate is especially in people with cardiovascular diseases (10.5 percent), Diabetes (7.3 per cent), respiratory diseases (6.3 percent), and hypertension (6.0 percent) increased. In healthy people, it is 0.9 percent. This could also be a building block to explain the higher mortality rate among men.

When it comes to their health, men seem to be generally more careless than women: she tends to go later to the doctor, to be treated later, and also health apply related behavior less often. For example, studies show that men wash in comparison to women are less likely to hands or using soap. This is recommended in order to reduce the risk from contagious infectious diseases.

It remains debatable whether the data from China are actually transferable to other countries. Researchers assume that in the heavily affected Region of Hubei, especially seriously ill people are treated – in the milder cases would not be captured due to capacity reasons in the first place, which would reduce the mortality rate significantly.

The differences between the sexes were observed for other infectious diseases – including the Sars and Mers outbreaks, which were also caused by corona viruses triggered. A study in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers studied the Sars outbreak in 2003 in Hong Kong. The result: more women overall than men falls ill. However, the mortality rate for men was 50 percent higher.

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