Since the outbreak of the new coronavirus, scientists have been gaining insight into how the new coronavirus affects the human body and how it is transmitted from person to person. In recent months, scientists have learned that the virus can survive for up to three days on some surfaces and can stay in tiny droplets for about 30 minutes, and its presence has been detected in the body’s saliva, urine and feces.
The new coronavirus may also lurk in semen. Pictured is the National Institutes of Health
Now, a team of Chinese researchers has found a new coronavirus in the semen of infected people, increasing the likelihood that the virus will spread through sex. The research paper was published Thursday (May 7) local time in JAMA Network Open, a semen, the first time a new coronavirus has been detected in semen.
The paper also points out that it is not yet possible to prove that the new coronavirus can be transmitted through sexual activity. At the same time, the details of the new coronavirus shedding, survival time, concentration in semen and so on still need further research.
According to the research paper, a research team composed of experts from the South Building Respiratory Department of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army General Hospital, the Department of Nephrology of the PLA General Hospital, the PLA Institute of Kidney Disease, Chaoyang Hospital in Beijing and Shangqiu City Hospital in Henan Province tested the semen of 38 male infected people at Shangqiu City Hospital in Henan Province, all of whom were aged between 15 and 59, and had previously tested positive for the new coronavirus. Of these, 23 patients are in the recovery phase and the remaining 15 are in the acute stage of infection.
The Chinese research team’s paper was published in jamA Network Open, a sub-journal of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The researchers detected genetic material from the new coronavirus in the semen of six of the patients, about 16 percent. The paper points out that four of the patients who tested positive for semen samples were in the acute stage of the new coronary infection. Of particular note is that two other patients who tested positive for the virus are in the process of recovering. According to the charts in the paper, one of the men has been recovering clinically for three days.
However, the researchers noted that the study had a small sample size and a short follow-up time. Therefore, the details of the new coronavirus shedding, survival time, concentration in semen and so on still need further research.
The paper shows that two patients who tested positive for the virus are in the process of recovery.
Since the beginning of the outbreak, public health experts have said that while the new coronavirus can be transmitted by kissing, they do not believe it can be sexually transmitted. This new finding does not contradict this. “It is worth noting that although researchers have detected genetic material in semen, the study does not prove that the virus particles are “living” or can transmit infections,” the New York Times said.
Medical experts say this is only a preliminary study, leaving many questions to be explored, such as how much viral load is in sperm and whether the virus can be transmitted through sex. In addition, it is not clear how long the new coronavirus has remained in semen, as the patients involved in the study still have symptoms or have only recently recovered.
Liona Poon, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Chinese in Hong Kong, told the Wall Street Journal that the study did not indicate how much of the virus load was in semen, whether it was residual fragments of the virus or complete virus particles. And it is not known for sure whether the virus is contagious until it is isolated and cultured.
Dr. Stanley Perlman, a professor of microbiology, immunology and pediatrics at the University of Iowa in the United States, also said that semen testing positive for the new coronavirus does not mean that infectious viruses exist. “This is an interesting finding, but it has to be confirmed that there are infectious viruses in semen, not just the RNA of the virus, ” he said. “
Unlike the Zika virus carried in the blood, the new coronavirus infects humans mainly through the mouth or nasal passage, he added. At present, there is still no evidence that a person may have contracted the neo-coronavirus through sexual contact or intrauterine fertilization.