Coronavirus: Why women could be more likely to survive COVID-19 than men

Fewer women are dying from the COVID-19 coronavirus than men and it could all come down to biology.

During the first six weeks of the disease's spread, almost an equal number of men and women were infected. But 2.8 percent of men died compared with only 1.7 percent of women, The Times reports.

Scientists believe this is because women's immune systems are stronger and they're genetically tougher.

A 2018 study by scientists in the US shows that under extreme conditions such as famines, epidemics and enslavement, women survived longer than men.

But women also have an advantage when it comes to lifespans, living on average six to eight years longer than their male counterparts, the World Health Organization (WHO) says. This difference is due to "an inherent biological advantage" for women.

These biological advantages could come down to the bundles of DNA called chromosomes within each cell, according to the BBC.

Chromosomes come in pairs and women have two X chromosomes whereas men have one X and one Y. This difference could be what alters how cells age and deteriorate.

Since women have two X chromosomes - essentially a copy of every gene - there is a spare one in case the other is faulty. Men don't have that back-up copy.

Another advantage that women may have is the 'female jogging heart' hypothesis. It's believed that since a woman's heart rate increases in the second half of the menstrual cycle, it's similar to moderate exercise and offsets the risk of cardiovascular disease.

A total of 3809 people have died globally so far from COVID-19 and nearly 110,000 people have been infected, WHO says