There are still many mysteries about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), including whether or not it can be transmitted sexually. Researchers in China may have taken an important step toward that answer.
In a study published yesterday (May 7) by JAMA Network Open, researchers tested 38 semen samples of COVID-19 patients at Shangqiu Municipal Hospital in China. Of those 38 patients, “6 patients (15.8%) had results positive for SARS-CoV-2 [the virus that causes COVID-19], including 4 of 15 patients (26.7%) who were at the acute stage of infection and 2 of 23 patients (8.7%) who were recovering.”
The study also notes, “But there was no significant difference between negative and positive test results for patients by age, urogenital disease history, days since onset, days since hospitalization, or days since clinical recovery.”
Despite these finds, however, Cleveland Clinic urologist Dr. Ryan Berglund tells CBS News, “I think that’s premature [to say COVID-19 can be transmitted sexually.] You have to look at this as a sign that semen, as along with a number of other body fluids, can contain the virus.”
Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security senior scholar Dr. Amesh Adalja adds, “The fact that the novel coronavirus’ genetic material is found in the semen of male patients is an important finding that will need follow-up study.”