Coronavirus Reportedly Found In Semen, And Thus Has A Small Risk Of Being Transmitted Sexually

'If it could be proved that SARS-CoV-2 can be transmitted sexually ... (that) might be a critical part of the prevention,' said a research team.

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'If it could be proved that SARS-CoV-2 can be transmitted sexually ... (that) might be a critical part of the prevention,' said a research team.

Small concentrations of the novel coronavirus can be found in the semen of some men who have tested positive for the pathogen, raising the remote possibility that the virus can be transmitted sexually, Reuters reported.

A team of physicians at China’s Shangqiu Municipal Hospital tested semen samples of 38 men who had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 (the scientific name of the pathogen which has caused the COVID-19 pandemic, colloquially referred to as the “novel coronavirus”). Of the over three dozen men, six tested positive for the pathogen in their semen.

That some men, albeit a comparatively small percentage of them, tested positive for the virus in their semen means that the remote possibility exists that the virus can be transmitted sexually.

“If it could be proved that SARS-CoV-2 can be transmitted sexually… (that) might be a critical part of the prevention, especially considering the fact that SARS-CoV-2 was detected in the semen of recovering patients,” the team notes.

However, the team also notes that, due to its small sample size as well as the technical difficulties in testing human semen for viruses, it’s far too early to conclude that COVID-19 can be sexually transmitted. The team noted that more research is needed.

Allan Pacey, a professor of andrology at Britain’s Sheffield University, notes that the Chinese team’s research didn’t conclude if the pathogens found in the semen samples were still active and thus capable of causing infection.

ATLANTA, GA - UNDATED: This undated handout photo from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows a microscopic view of the Coronavirus at the CDC in Atlanta, Georgia. According to the CDC the virus that causes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) might be a "previously unrecognized virus from the Coronavirus family." (Photo by CDC/Getty Images)
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Pacey further noted that the notion that SARS-CoV-2 can be transmitted in semen is not outside the realm of possibility, as other viruses — notably ebola and zika — have been found in the semen of test subjects.

Similarly, Sheena Lewis, a professor of reproductive medicine at Queen’s University Belfast, noted that the Chinese team’s sample size was small and pointed out that other studies, also with small sample sizes, showed no presence of the pathogen in semen.

“The long-term effects of SARS-CoV-2 on male reproduction are not yet known,” she said.

In late April, as reported at the time by The Inquisitr, an American study, carried out in partnership with a Chinese team, concluded that COVID-19 is not sexually transmitted. However, that study also noted that its findings were preliminary and that further research was indicated.

In the American study, none of the 32 men who had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 had any trace of the pathogen in their semen. What’s more, Dr. James M. Hotaling noted that the anatomical structure of the male (human) reproductive system made it unlikely that the pathogen could infect semen.