Study: COVID-19 could affect male fertility, be sexually transmitted

Chinese researchers found that the virus was present in the semen of six study participants with COVID-19

By Laura French

CHINA — The results of a recent study suggest that COVID-19 could possibly affect fertility in male patients and be transmitted sexually. 

The study conducted by researchers in Shangqiu, China, involved analysis of semen samples from 38 male COVID-19 patients, and showed that the virus was present in the semen of six patients (15%), according to a research letter published in JAMA Network Open

According to the researchers, four of the patients whose semen contained COVID-19 were in the acute stage of infection, and two were in recovery, which the authors said was "particularly noteworthy." 

"Further studies are required with respect to the detailed information about virus shedding, survival time, and concentration in semen," the authors wrote. "If it could be proved that SARS-CoV-2 can be transmitted sexually in future studies, sexual transmission might be a critical part of the prevention of transmission, especially considering the fact that SARS-CoV-2 was detected in the semen of recovering patients." 

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