Odongo Odoyo

Topical Commentary

With Odongo Odoyo

Today (yesterday), l woke up in high spirit and was gearing to go when something caught my eyes. Inscribed in the thing were two quotes the first read “just a drop of kindness could make a big difference in a person’s life and the second was “silence and smile are two powerful words. Smile is the way to solve many problems and silence is the way to avoid many problems.” I stood between these words wondering one should help me carry the day. Then came another shocker of the coronavirus pandemic which outlined why more men were infected than women. This one came from Verah Okeyo and reads as follows”

“Why more men are infected with virus

Men and women have the Y and X chromosomes, and females have two copies of the X chromosome.

Men still dominate the numbers of those most affected by Covid-19 as Kenya crossed the 10,000 mark with 379 new cases reported yesterday.

In a statement sent to newsrooms, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said that men accounted for 253 cases, which is nearly seven in ten people. There are 10,105 cases out of 215,037 tests and majority have been men.

Nairobi (209), Kiambu (49), Busia (38), Migori (19) and Mombasa (16) still account for the largest number of new infections. These counties have a nearly 50-50 women population, which proves there are certain vulnerabilities that make men susceptible to the virus.

According to studies, women generally have a more robust immune response which helps them fight diseases. This could be attributed to genetic factors or sex hormones like oestrogen and testosterone.


Men and women have the Y and X chromosomes, and females have two copies of the X chromosome. One of the X chromosomes often has an inactive immunity gene but in some cases, it does not undergo inactivation. So women end up with double the immune genes as compared to men.

A study that was published on May 10 European Heart Journal reported that men have higher concentrations of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) in their blood than women.

In a previous interview, Prof Thumbi Ndung’u, a virologist based in South Africa, explained that ACE2 enables the coronavirus to infect healthy cells. It “receives the Sars-2-CoV first before the virus infects the other cells. This explains why men are more vulnerable than women.”

In a study published in 2017 in the Journal of Immunology and research conducted in mice, it was found that activating the oestrogen receptor in female mice provided them with protection against Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus Infections.” I am not a medic but you can agree with the professional findings or not all depends on individual’s thinking and ability. One thing is for sure whether it infect men more than women is the fact that coronavirus is real and cannot be called by any other name except to be prevented through protection as given in the Ministry of Health  and the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines. This is the fact which we must accept to face.

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