Around 69 per cent deaths due to COVID-19 in India has been among men and it may be linked to SARS-Cov-2 reducing testosterone (primary sex hormone among men) level in males, a new study has revealed. This study, published by Selahittin Cayan, Mustafa Ugaz, Baris Saylan, Erdem Akbay of University of Mersin School of Medicine, Turkey, earlier this month, concluded that low testosterone level has a significantly increased risk for the ICU and mortality in patients with COVID-19.
The study included 221 male patients of over 18 years of age, with laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 and those who had been hospitalised due to COVID-19. The patients were divided into 3 groups: asymptomatic patients (46), symptomatic patients who were hospitalised in the internal medicine unit (IMU) (129), and patients who were hospitalised in the intensive care unit (ICU) (46).
The result showed that as total testosterone level at baseline decreases, the probability to be in ICU and mortality increases significantly. "Testosterone is associated with the immune system of respiratory organs, and low levels of testosterone might increase the risk of respiratory infections," lead author Selahittin Cayan, professor of urology, stated in the study.
He said the problem of low testosterone among male patients might also occur due to "infection-related hospitalisations". Prof Cayan said treating testosterone levels might improve deaths due to COVID-19.
According to the findings of the study: "The mean total testosterone decreased, and mean gonadotropins (FSH and LH) increased, as the severity of the COVID-19 increased. The mean total testosterone level was significantly lower in the ICU group than in the asymptomatic group. Besides, the mean total testosterone level was significantly lower in the ICU group than in the IMU group. The mean FSH level was significantly higher in the ICU group than in the asymptomatic group."
Meanwhile, as the COVID-19 cases continue to rise, there is tremendous pressure on pharma companies to develop a vaccine. Around 40 different coronavirus vaccines are in clinical trials currently. Active cases in India stand at 9,40,441, and deaths at 97,474.