A new study conducted in India says coronavirus could linger in the testicles, making men prone to longer, more severe cases of the illness.

Researchers in Mumbai, tracked the recovery of 68 patients to study the gender disparity of the virus, which has taken a worse toll on men.

According to Dr. Aditi Shastri, an oncologist at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, and her mother, Dr. Jayanthi Shastri, a microbiologist at the Kasturba Hospital for Infectious Diseases in Mumbai, the virus attaches itself to a protein that occurs in high levels in the testicles.

This protein, known as angiotensin-converting enzyme 2, or ACE2, is present in the lungs, the gastrointestinal tract and the heart in addition to large quantities in the testicles.

But since testicles are walled off from the immune system, the virus could harbor there for longer periods than the rest of the body, according to the study.

The mother-daughter researchers said these findings may explain why women bounce back from the virus more quickly than men.

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