Although theories put forward to explain the difference include men being more likely to smoke and the possibility of genetic differences that make their immune systems weaker than women’s, it could be simpler than that.

Prostate cancer experts have now uncovered intriguing clues that the sex hormone testosterone seems to play a crucial role by inadvertently helping the virus infect cells.

Italian medics discovered that prostate cancer patients given powerful drugs, known as androgen deprivation therapy, to radically cut testosterone levels were four times less likely to die of Covid-19 than those not on them.

Testosterone drives up levels of a protein called TMPRSS2, which is implicated in prostate cancer. But scientists have recently found that the coronavirus also uses this protein to ‘unlock’ cells.