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Coronavirus found in semen of young men
Published on: 2020-05-12
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An electron microscope image shows the spherical particles of the new coronavirus colorized blue from the first U.S. case of COVID 19An electron microscope image shows the spherical particles of the new coronavirus, colorized blue, from the first U.S. case of COVID-19

The new coronavirus can persist in men's semen even after they have begun to recover, a finding that raises the possibility the virus could be sexually transmitted, Chinese researchers said Thursday.

semen 01A team at Shangqiu Municipal Hospital tested 38 male patients treated there at the height of the pandemic in China, in January and February.

About 16% of them had evidence of the coronavirus in their semen. 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.

semen 02"Even if the virus cannot replicate in the male reproductive system, it may persist, possibly resulting from the privileged immunity of testes," 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.

It's not yet clear if coronavirus can spread this way. Finding evidence of virus does not necessarily mean it's infectious.



由解放军总医院第八医学中心赵卫国博士和河南商丘市立医院张世玺医生撰写的相关论文,5月7日发表在对外开放的医学期刊《美国医学会杂志•网络开放》(JAMA Network Open)上,但是由于研究人员无法确认他们所发现的病毒是活病毒还是病毒残留的片段,因此对于新冠病毒是否可以通过性传播未给出明确答案。




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