Watch out: coronavirus persists in semen

Watch out: coronavirus persists in semen

The coronavirus can survive in semen, but sexual transmission is unlikely, consider Chinese doctors. However, there is no precise data about the risks, they recommend the use of condoms and not to have contact with sperm. coronavirus SARS-COV-2 is able to persist in the semen, found Chinese doctors from the 30th military hospital of PLA in Beijing. The sexual transmission is, however, unlikely, the researchers note. The work was published in the journal JAMA Network Open.

Testicles, eyes, and Central nervous system region of the body protected from severe inflammation due to immune response, the researchers explain. Also, those during pregnancy become a fetus and placenta. It is assumed that such a feature was developed during evolution to protect the most important structures. However, a virus can “hide” from the immune response of the host.

These areas have attracted attention during the outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa in 2013-2016 — it turned out that the Ebola virus can be transmitted through semen, even months after the healing of the man. These data raised questions regarding the transmission of sexually transmitted and other viruses, including SARS-COV-2.

“Of the 50 patients with coronavirus 12 is unable to provide semen samples for erectile dysfunction, coma or because they died before the study”,

— the authors write operation.

In the end, the researchers used semen samples from 38 men 15-59 years who test positive for coronavirus. Unlike previous works that focused on patients with a severe form of the disease. Six of them — about 16% — they found traces of coronavirus. Four of those whose semen was a coronavirus were in the acute phase of the disease, two were recovered. One of the men had symptoms disappeared 16 days ago.

From the first days of the epidemic, the doctors reported that the virus can be transmitted through kissing, but sexual transmission is unlikely. The new study does not contradict this: even if the sperm and traces of coronavirus are not talking about the content of viable virions, says immunologist Stanley Perlman from the University of Iowa.

“The opening is interesting, he says. But you need to confirm that this is a virus capable of infection, but not the semen caught in his tracks.”

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The analysis revealed fragments of viral DNA, but it says nothing about saving the sperm of the virus itself and the possibility of infection, he adds.

In addition, until now not registered a single case of transmission of coronavirus sexually. The probability of being infected by droplets spread by coughing and conversations with the patient, much higher.

However, some doctors insist on studies of the penetration of coronavirus in semen: if it may remain capable of infecting virions, it is oral sex and sperm. So, many clinics specializing in infertility treatment, stopped work — not only to reduce the flow of patients but also because of fears that using donor sperm can be infected with women trying to get pregnant.

Anyway, even if the sexual transmission is possible, it is fairly easy to limit. Therefore, unless it is clearly determined how long the virus may persist in the testes, the researchers recommend to just use condoms.

The American group of researchers also has assessed the risks of infection with coronavirus sexually. The researchers found the virus in the testicles of men who have had the disease in a mild form. In the semen traces of the virus was not, however, it may be due to the fact that samples were taken a month after diagnosis.

“If the virus is in the testicles, but semen does not fall, then he’s not sexually transmitted, — explained the researchers. —

But being in the testicles, it can, in the long run, affect the quality of sperm and its development”.

Although the chances of Contracting a sexually transmitted infection, based on available data, seem extremely low, intimate contact in itself increases the risks, they added. Not only sneezing and coughing, and kissing contribute to the penetration of the virus into the body. In addition, if the illness is asymptomatic, it can be infected by a person who feels completely healthy.