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No trace of SARS-CoV-2 in semen of COVID-19 patients

16 May 2020

There appears to be no evidence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the semen of patients recovering from COVID-19 a month after diagnosis, according to a study, suggesting that the virus is unlikely to gain entry into testicular cells through an ACE2/TMPRSS2-mediated mechanism.

Using real-time quantitative reverse transcription PCR, researchers assayed single ejaculated semen samples from 34 adult Chinese males (median age, 37 years; median body mass index, 25 kg/m2) recovering from COVID-19 for the presence of SARS-CoV-2. They also looked at the expression patterns of ACE2 and TMPRSS2 in the testicle.

Generally, the patients exhibited mild-to-moderate symptoms of COVID-19 at the time of disease confirmation. The median time from the collection of a semen sample from a confirmatory diagnosis of COVID-19 was 31 days.

None of the semen samples tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. Furthermore, single-cell transcriptome analysis revealed sparse expression of ACE2 and TMPRSS2, with almost no overlapping gene expression.

The single-cell transcriptome data indicate that ACE2 RNA expression occurs at low levels, the researchers said. “Therefore, ACE2-mediated viral entry of SARS-CoV-2 into target host cells is unlikely to occur within the human testicle.”

However, the researchers acknowledged that they could not definitively rule out the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in the seminal fluid during an acute infection with severe COVID-19 symptoms. Additional investigation is needed to shed light on the long-term impact of SARS-CoV-2 on male reproductive function, including fertility and testicular endocrine function.

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Most Read Articles
Tristan Manalac, 14 May 2020
Liver injuries appear to be more common in severe cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a new meta-analysis reports.
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There appears to be no evidence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the semen of patients recovering from COVID-19 a month after diagnosis, according to a study, suggesting that the virus is unlikely to gain entry into testicular cells through an ACE2/TMPRSS2-mediated mechanism.
Stephen Padilla, Yesterday
Herd immunity will not work in the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), according to an infectious disease expert who addressed over 3,600 primary care physicians (PCP) from Asia Pacific at the inaugural webcast of the MIMS COVID Conversations Series.
Jairia Dela Cruz, 15 May 2020
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