The novel coronavirus is not transmitted through sexual contact, a new study by the University of Utah reveals. However, the sample size was too small to draw a definitive conclusion.
As Yahoo Life reports, the Utah team partnered with scientists from Columbia University and Cornell University, as well as with a team of scientists in Wuhan, China — where the virus is believed to have originated — to analyze semen samples from 32 men who had tested positive for the virus.
None of the men had any traces of the virus in their semen, effectively ruling out the possibility that the virus can be transmitted via sex (sex involving males, to be specific).
“The virus requires two receptors to get into cells… and basically, in testes cells, none of them showed both these receptors. We’ve shown preliminary evidence that it doesn’t appear in the semen,” says Dr. James M. Hotaling.
Hotaling does not, however, say that the study is 100 percent conclusive that the virus absolutely cannot be transmitted via semen, pointing to the study’s comparatively small sample size.
However, he notes that the virus’ regular means of transmission, and the anatomy of the male reproductive system, don’t appear to be compatible.
“The virus requires two receptors to get into cells… and basically, in testes cells, none of them showed both these receptors. We’ve shown preliminary evidence that it doesn’t appear in the semen,” he says.
Jingtao Guo, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Utah, warns that the virus, though not transmitted via semen, can still damage the male reproductive system.
“If it is in the testes, it can cause long-term damage to semen and sperm production,” Guo says.
The virus does, however, spread through saliva, which means that it can therefore be transmitted through other sexual activities besides penetrative sex; kissing, specifically.
However, Huma Farid, an ob-gyn at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, had previously noted that partners in sexual relationships shouldn’t worry about transmitting the virus to one another. Farid says that if a partner has been practicing social distancing and is not known to have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, then the two partners shouldn’t worry about the safety of hugging, kissing, sharing a bed, or having sex.
As reported at the time by The Inquisitr, back in March Dr. Mehmet Oz recommended that American couples have sex with each other to let off steam and fight off boredom from coronavirus isolation. He also suggested that there would be a bonus nine months later in the form of a new crop of babies.