The reason? The length of ring fingers is believed to be linked to how much testosterone men are exposed to in utero - the longer the finger, the greater the hormonal exposure. And testosterone is believed to protect against severe coronavirus-related illness because it increases the concentration of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) in the body.
Earlier this month, researchers estimated that men, with no mention of finger length, are more than twice as likely to die from COVID-19 than women because of the greater presence of ACE2 found in their blood. ACE2, a receptor and a gatekeeper to cells, binds to the coronavirus, allowing it to cause infection.
So while it may not stop them from getting the coronavirus, it could be a sign that the symptoms won't be as severe. Other studies suggest that even higher levels of ACE2 - thought to create greater entry points for the virus to infect cells - can protect men against lung damage, the Daily Mail notes.
With regards to the lungs, the coronavirus is known to lower the number of ACE2 receptors once inside the body. But it appears that men who have higher levels of the enzyme could be better protected from the disease's wrath than men with a lower count.
The Swansea University-led researchers pored over data from 200,000 people across 41 countries where they measured volunteers' ring fingers in relation to their index fingers to the nearest millimeter. A smaller "digit ratio" means the ring finger is longer, and this trait was found in countries including Malaysia, Russia and Mexico - where the COVID-19 fatality rate was lower. Countries where men have a higher digit ratio, meaning the ring finger is shorter, include the United Kingdom, Spain and Bulgaria - where there's been a higher fatality rate.
On average, men in countries with longer ring fingers have a death rate of 2.7 per 100,000. For the countries where there's shorter finger length, the average is 4.9 per 100,000.
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