As a respiratory toxicologist and researcher investigating sex differences in the respiratory system, I was intrigued to read a recent study on sex-specific responses to COVID-19 that suggest that men are, actually, more vulnerable and suffer more from this disease.
These findings may apply to other respiratory viruses like SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19. For example, reports of SARS-CoV-2 infection rates are similar between males and females, but male sex is a significant risk factor for more serious COVID-19 disease and death. In fact, one study revealed that men are 2.4 times more likely to die from COVID-19. I find it interesting that higher death rates in men also occurred in other coronavirus diseases like severe acute respiratory syndrome, caused by SARS-CoV, and Middle East respiratory syndrome.