A study shows that viruses possess an ability to evolve and become fatal in men than in women.
The Nature Communications journal published the whole report. In addition, the study explores the advantage of the virus “going easy” on women which assist it in spreading.
Several infections were identified to be less lethal to women. However, the variances of the immune system play an important key in the infection.
Experts find the outcome of the study fascinating.
Viruses behave differently which is rare in women. An example of unique virus behavior is when a mother nurses her child during breastfeeding. As well as a child in the mother’s womb acquiring the virus.
The London’s Royal Holloway University scientists developed the use of mathematics to create a representation based on the virus’s behavior.
Findings of the study show the benefit of the infection which is less deadly in women. It lessened the threat of killing the mother while increasing the risk of infecting the child.
One of the researchers, Dr. Francisco Ubeda explained the scenario. He said, “Viruses may be evolving to be less dangerous to women, looking to preserve the female population, the virus wants to be passed from mother to child, either through breastfeeding or just through giving birth.”
Furthermore, the research revealed that gender also holds the key in the type and gravity of the infections. Variances in the immune system, sex chromosomes as well as hormones influenced the infections’ severity.
“We’re turning it on its head and taking the pathogen’s eye view. We show theoretically it is possible, which is challenging, but we haven’t proven what the mechanism is that would trigger this difference.” Dr. Ubeda said on the BBC News website.
He added, “There will be a difference in the pathogen’s behavior between men and women.”
Researchers are exploring the possibility of a drug which can deceive the virus into thinking it is currently infecting women to make them less potent.
However, Dr. Ubeda admitted that the possibility of such a drug is still in the “science fiction” phase.
A virologist from the University of Nottingham, Prof Jonathan Ball claimed that the outcome of the study seems fascinating. He said, “testing them in real biological systems will be an important next step.”
In a BBC interview, Prof. Ball said, “The possibility that a virus – or indeed any other infection – can fine-tune its ability to cause disease, to help its transmission in either males or females is intriguing.”