(HealthDay News) — Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is present in the semen of some patients with COVID-19, including recovering patients, according to a study published online in JAMA Network Open.

Diangeng Li, PhD, from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army General Hospital in Beijing, and colleagues identified all male patients with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 between Jan. 26 and Feb. 16, 2020, in Shangqiu Municipal Hospital. Thirty-eight enrolled patients were asked to provide a semen sample for SARS-CoV-2 testing.

Of the 38 participants, 23 had achieved clinical recovery and 15 were at the acute stage of infection. The researchers found that 6 patients (15.8%) had positive results for SARS-CoV-2, including 4 who were at the acute stage of infection and 2 who were recovering (26.7 and 8.7%, respectively). Patients with negative and positive test results did not differ in terms of age, urogenital disease history, days since onset, days since hospitalization, or days since clinical recovery.

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“If it could be proved that SARS-CoV-2 can be transmitted sexually in future studies, sexual transmission might be a critical part of the prevention of transmission, especially considering the fact that SARS-CoV-2 was detected in the semen of recovering patients,” the authors write. “Our study might contribute by providing new information to the current discourse regarding COVID-19 prevention and control.”


Li D, Jin M, Bao P, et al. Clinical Characteristics and Results of Semen Tests Among Men With Coronavirus Disease 2019. JAMA Netw Open. 2020;3(5):e208292. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.8292

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