RESEARCH FINDS CORONAVIUS COULD BE TRANSMITTED SEXUALLY
Chinese researchers on coronavirus have revealed the virus can remain in a man’s semen even after he had recovered.
The research team stated that the finding raises the possibility that coronavirus could be sexually transmitted.
A team at Shangqiu Municipal Hospital tested 38 male patients treated at the hospital during the height of the pandemic in China, in January and February.
According to the teams report in the journal JAMA Network Open about 16% of them had evidence of the Coronavirus still in their semen, while about a quarter of them were in the acute stage of infection and nearly 9% of them were recovering, the team reported.
“We found that SARS-CoV-2 can be present in the semen of patients with COVID-19, and SARS-CoV-2 may still be detected in the semen of recovering patients,” Diangeng Li of Chinese People’s Liberation Army General Hospital in Beijing and colleagues wrote.
“Even if the virus cannot replicate in the male reproductive system, it may persist, possibly resulting from the privileged immunity of tests,” the team added. Privileged immunity means the immune system cannot fully reach the region to attack viral invaders.
“It’s not a surprising finding many viruses can live in the male reproductive tract. Ebola and Zika virus were both found to spread in semen, sometimes months after a male patient had recovered.
“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,” the team wrote.
“Abstinence or condom use might be considered as a preventive means for these patients.
“Also, it is worth noting that there is a need for studies monitoring fetal development.
“Therefore, to avoid contact with the patient’s saliva and blood may not be enough, since the survival of SARS-CoV-2 in a recovering patient’s semen maintains the likelihood to infect others.”