Men’s Testicles Could Make Them More Vulnerable To Coronavirus - New Research

Men’s Testicles Could Make Them More Vulnerable To Coronavirus - New Research

Coronavirus could linger in men’s testicles explaining why men are more likely to be severely affected than women, a study has suggested.

The virus bonds with proteins in the body that are found in the lungs, intestine and heart – and also the testicles. It binds with cells that express the ACE2 protein, or angiotensin converting enzyme 2.

This protein is less prevalent in ovarian tissue, which could mean the virus has an extra place to harbour in men. Study authors said their observations showed men took longer to clear the virus from their systems.

They said: ‘High expression of ACE2 RNA and protein in testes leads to the hypothesis that testicular viral reservoirs may exist and play a role in viral persistence, and should be further investigated by larger clinical studies.’

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) men in the UK have a mortality rate of 1,728.2 per 100,000, while women had a rate of 840.9 per 100,000, meaning men are dying from the virus at twice the rate of women.

The study looking at testicles as a potential reason was carried out by researchers in New York and Mumbai, and followed 48 men and 20 women living in Mumbai who had been infected. It found that women took an average of four days to clear the infection but men took six days, 50% longer.

The study has not been peer-reviewed and some experts have cast doubt on the findings. NHS temporary hospitals have been set up to deal with coronavirus patients.

Virology Professor Ian Jones from the University of Reading told the Daily Mail: ‘Men generally do worse than women in immunological outcomes, possibly the result of only one X chromosome, and I think that this imbalance is more likely behind the differences seen.’ Jonathan Ball, Professor of Molecular Virology at the University of Nottingham, added that another study had tested sufferers’ semen for coronavirus and had not found any, suggesting the testes were not an ‘important reservoir’.


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