With the recent reports observing the pattern of the coronavirus pandemic, it has been found that while infection rates between men and women are even, in comparison to women, more men die of COVID-19.

Professor Andrea Alimonti of the Università della Svizzera Italiana-Switzerland said the reason is the presence of male sex hormone, testosterone, and those who are receiving androgen deprivation therapies (ADT) for prostate cancer are less likely to be infected.

ADT administered to patients of prostate cancer heightens their chances of not contracting coronavirus as compared to those who are not on ADT. This therapy is given to prostate cancer patients to reduce testosterone production or blocks its binding to receptors. It works on the observation that cancer cells thrive on male hormones and without its presence they starve, unable to multiply.

And as patients undergoing the treatment have shown less susceptibility to COVID-19, chances are that the reason males are more likely to die than females from the pandemic is the presence of testosterone.

The theory was further backed in the Annals of Oncology, by Prof. Alimonti that to date, patients of cancer, including prostate cancer, are at a higher risk of being diagnosed with COVID-19 in Italy's hard-hit Vento region as the disease lowers a body’s defenses.

He found that men with prostate cancer were 1.8 times likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19 as men who don’t have cancer. But when the results were compared with the patients who were on ADT, it was found that while men with prostate cancer not on ADT, 0.31 infection rate, men undergoing ADT have a quarter of the mentioned infection rate.

“We... have found that those being treated with ADT for prostate cancer are protected, even though all patients with cancer have a greater risk of Covid-19 infection than non-cancer patients,” Alimonti said in a statement.

But, even though, Alimonti suggests that men, whether patients of prostate cancer or not, should be given temporary doses of ADT to men, especially those who have a higher risk of catching the virus and assured testosterone levels return to normal once ADT is stopped.

Electron Microscopy of Coronavirus
This is an Electron Microscopy of Coronavirus. Murphy Medical Associates

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