Despite the Covid-19 pandemic making headlines since January, all we know about this particular virus is that it’s extremely contagious. However, SARS-CoV-2 RNA (the genetic code for the virus that caused Covid-19) could be found in the semen of Covid-19 patients.
A small study was conducted in China involving 38 patients who were undergoing treatment for severe Covid-19 at Shangqiu Municipal Hospital in Henan province.
The results showed that SARS-CoV-2 RNA was found in the semen samples provided by six of the 38 patients in the study. According to Science Alert, 15 patients provided semen samples during the acute phase of their illness and another 23 patients collected their samples shortly after recovering.
Four patients among the 15 who were experiencing the acute phase of Covid-19 had semen that contained the virus. As for the 23 patients who recovered, the virus could be found in two of these patients’ semen samples.
It’s important to note that this particular study collected the semen samples during the disease as well as shortly after recovering from it.
All the semen samples found to have the viral RNA were from the recovering patients who provided the samples within two to three days after recovery. It is also mentioned that the result depends on the severity of the disease and the time of the sampling.
Noting that more investigations are needed to be conducted, the article suggests that the presence of viral RNA in the patients’ semen does not necessarily indicate the presence of the infectious virus. Therefore, it will be critical to show whether the infectious virus can also be isolated from the semen of SARS-CoV-2 patients and survivors.
If the virus can be isolated from the semen, what scientists need to do next would be to find out whether SARS-CoV-2 could only be found in the semen of patients with severe Covid-19 disease, or if significant virus levels could also be detected in the semen of patients with mild disease, as well as asymptomatic people.
The article also suggests that there would only be a possibility of sexual transmission of Covid-19 if the virus persisted in the testicle for an extended period of time. With this scenario, it may be possible for Covid-19 survivors to sexually transmit the virus even after their recovery.
Therefore, to play it safe, scientists have urged people who recovered from Covid-19 to use condoms until further research is done to clarify how long the infectious virus stays in semen.
Yikes! Whether or not the virus will be transmitted via sexual contact, it’s best to wear protection and practise safe sex!
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