A cancer research doctor is raising the possibility that testosterone is fueling the high rate of COVID-19 deaths in men.
According to the Daily Mail, researchers are examining the potential link between the hormone and the coronavirus.
"One of the proteins the virus appears to bind to in lungs is TMPRSS2. It's a sort of lock and key thing: having bound to this protein, it provides the virus with a route into the cell," professor and Dr. Nick James of The Institute of Cancer Research in London told the news outlet.
"You would therefore predict that men on treatments for prostate cancer that reduce their testosterone levels should be protected [from coronavirus] relative to men who are not on such treatments — meaning most men."
James said it is "biologically plausible" that testosterone makes men more prone to getting the coronavirus and having a more serious case of it than women because of a treatment they receive that decreases their levels of the hormone.
"Being on these drugs is the male equivalent of going through the menopause," James said. "You would almost certainly cause more harm than good."
Researchers have been looking at why men seem to have a higher rate of virus infections and deaths than women. Some theories center around men having more risk factors and co-morbidities.
As of Monday morning, roughly 100,000 Americans had died of the virus out of nearly 1.7 million cases. Worldwide, there have been 5.5 million cases and upward of 347,000 deaths.
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