Chinese researchers detect COVID-19 in human semen

Chinese researchers detect COVID-19 in human semen
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Researchers of a small study conducted in China detected COVID-19 in semen of patients hospitalized with the disease, according to a study published Thursday.

The researchers found that COVID-19 was present in the semen of six of 38 patients who participated and supplied a sample, according to the study published in JAMA Network Open.

Researchers detected the virus in semen from four men who were still very sick with the infection as well as from two who were recovering. 

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The study did not, however, address whether it is possible for COVID-19 to be sexually transmitted. 

The study was conducted on patients with confirmed COVID-19 at the Shangqui Municipal hospital, a designated COVID-19 treatment hospital. 

Authors of the study noted that the study was limited by a small sample size and short subsequent follow-up. 

The results contrast a study of 34 Chinese men with COVID-19 published last month in the journal Fertility and Sterility in which U.S. and Chinese researchers found no evidence of the virus in semen tested between eight days and almost three months after diagnosis, The Associated Press reports.

The co-author of that report, John Hotaling of the University of Utah, told AP the new study involved men that were much sicker. 

Peter Schlegel, the immediate past president of The American Society for Reproductive Medicine, told AP the new study should not be cause for alarm, but said for safety “it may be wise to avoid sexual contact with men until they are 14 days without symptoms.”