WEDNESDAY, Jan. 20, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Men are more likely to test positive for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and to have complications of COVID-19, according to a study published online Jan. 13 in PLOS ONE.
Farhaan S. Vahidy, Ph.D., M.B.B.S., from the Houston Methodist Research Institute, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional analysis of data from a COVID-19 Surveillance and Outcomes Registry to examine gender as a factor in the epidemiology and outcomes of COVID-19. Data were extracted from electronic medical records, and 96,473 individuals tested for SARS-CoV-2 RNA in nasopharyngeal swab specimens were included.
The researchers found that 15.6 percent of those tested for SARS-CoV-2 RNA were positive, and of these individuals, 31.9 percent were hospitalized and 9.5 percent died. The overall SARS-CoV-2 positivity was 15.5 percent among all tested individuals and was higher in men than women (17.0 versus 14.6 percent; odds ratio, 1.20). After adjustment for age, race, ethnicity, marital status, insurance type, median income, body mass index, smoking, and 17 comorbidities included in the Charlson Comorbidity Index, this sex difference persisted (odds ratio, 1.39). During their hospital course, a higher proportion of men versus women experienced pulmonary and extrapulmonary complications. Length of stay, need for mechanical ventilation, and in-hospital mortality were significantly higher in men versus women after adjustment.
"Sex is increasingly recognized as a modifier of disease, and its role with respect to SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 appears to be no exception," the authors write.