The novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, was not detected in the semen of patients recovering from COVID-19 one month after COVID-19 diagnosis, researchers at the University of Utah have found.
The study, published this month in the medical journal Fertility and Sterility, is part of a wider look at how COVID-19 spreads.
So far, scientists have determined that a person catches the disease primarily by breathing in respiratory droplets from someone who is infected, but the unknown was whether it could specifically be transmitted through other bodily fluids, particularly semen.
“If a disease like COVID-19 were sexually transmittable, that would have major implications for disease prevention,” said one of the U. researchers, James Hotaling, who specializes in male urology.
“Hotaling and Jingtao Guo at the U. participated in an international study with other scientists, including some from Cornell and Columbia universities, that examined the virus by testing the semen and testes of men who had contracted it,” reports The Salt Lake Tribune. “The subjects were 34 adult men in Wuhan, China, where the outbreak first started, ranging in age from 18 to 55. All had tested positive for the virus at least two months before the study.”
None of the samples carried any trace of the disease.
“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,” Hotaling added.
But he still cautions that the virus can be spread through other intimate contact, which is why the recommendation is to socially distance and stay 6 feet away from others when possible.