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Enzyme makes men more vulnerable to coronavirus

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A study from 11 European countries may help explain reports that the new coronavirus seems to attack men more often and more severely than women.

Researchers have found that men have higher blood levels of the enzyme that helps the virus infect cells.

The higher levels of “angiotensin-converting enzyme 2,” or ACE2, in men’s blood might mean their organs have more of the ACE2 “receptors” the virus uses to get into cells, researchers suggest in a paper published on Monday in European Heart Journal.

Their study involved more than 2,000 elderly men and women with heart failure but no coronavirus infection, many of whom were taking common blood pressure drugs that block the effect of this enzyme, known as ACE2 inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs).

The researchers emphasize that study participants receiving these medications did not have higher levels of ACE2, which adds to earlier evidence that the drugs do not increase people’s risk for coronavirus infection.

 

Via Reuters/ European Heart Journal

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