The new Coronavirus can persevere in men’s semen significantly after they have started to recoup, a finding that raises the chance the infection could be explicitly transmitted, Chinese scientists said Thursday.
A team at the Shangqiu Municipal Hospital conducted tests on 38 male patients, aged 15 and above, who were tested positive for COVID-19. Evidence for the existence of virus in semen was found for 6 patients; 2 who were recovering and 4 who were still infected. The results of the study were published on May 7, in the Journal JAMA Network Open. 27 different viruses have been detected in human semen, according to the Chinese study.
Thus, the total was 16% of the patients with semen found infected. Although the study didn’t involve a large number of men which is required to believe the concluded results, the alarming percentage does make sure the results are reliable.
Experts don’t find it shocking as all other fluids excreted from coronavirus patients were also infected including their saliva, breath and stool. Also, previously other viruses had been found in the semen of men among which Zika and Ebola are well known; which spread through semen months after the patient had recovered.
Queries are being raised as if the virus is being transmitted sexually or not but no study has yet given a reliable response to it.
More study is required to confirm whether this virus will possibly be sexually transmitted. However, controversy is expected to rise as, when the spread of the pandemic began, the Hollywood thriller film Cotagion (2011) was assumed to have predicted the spread of the virus. The movie depicted the infection in the first patient – a female – to have been transferred sexually and the patient then travelled to other countries, causing widespread of the virus.
But another study published in a journal in late April showed different results. It claimed that no evidence of presence of the coronavirus is found in the semen of the affectees, after examining samples from 34 patients which showed mild to moderate symptoms.
According to Greg Poland, director of the Vaccine Research Group at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, “It(the study) doesn’t tell you that it’s whole, viable, infectious virus. If I ground up the virus and performed this test, it would be positive even though that virus has no infectious potential.” He said that further study is required for concluding any final results and the currently study in itself lacks details regarding nature of the detected virus.