The coronavirus doesn’t appear to transmit through semen, according to new research.
An international group of scientists in the US and China found no evidence of COVID-19 in the semen of 34 adult Chinese men who had, on average, tested positive for the deadly virus a month prior, according to the findings published Friday in the journal Fertility and Sterility.
The authors note that their findings were admittedly based on a small sample size, but were still significant because they showed the virus might not show up in testes.
“If a disease like COVID-19 were sexually transmittable that would have major implications for disease prevention and could have serious consequences for a man’s long-term reproductive health,” study co-author Dr James M Hotaling says in a press release.
The new findings also set COVID-19 apart from diseases including Ebola and Zika, which can be sexually transmitted.
Participants in the current research, however, only had mild to moderate cases of the novel coronavirus.
“It could be that a man who is critically ill with COVID-19 might have a higher viral load, which could lead to a greater likelihood of infecting the semen. We just don’t have the answer to that right now,” says Hotaling. “But knowing that we didn’t find that kind of activity among the patients in this study who were recovering from mild to moderate forms of the disease is reassuring.”