Can the coronavirus be transmitted sexually? Small study suggests it’s possible

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The coronavirus disease COVID-19 could be transmitted through sexual intercourse, a new study has concluded, prompting fears of a new way the disease could be spread.

The virus was found in the semen of a small number of men who had tested positive for COVID-19 at a hospital in China. Doctors at China’s Shangqiu municipal hospital analyzed the sperm of 38 men and found SARS-CoV-2 in some of their semen.

The study was based on a small sample size, so more work would need to be done to establish whether the coronavirus can be sexually transmitted. If so, this would be a worrying development because it means the disease could be transmitted human-to-human beyond respiratory droplets and contact.

Related article:  Infographic: US among world laggards in COVID-19 testing per capita, ranking 22

The results are at odds with other small studies, also conducted in China, in February and March, which did not find traces of the disease in the semen of men who had tested positive for the coronavirus.

“This study is limited by the small sample size and the short subsequent follow-up. Therefore, further studies are required with respect to the detailed information about virus shedding, survival time, and concentration in semen,” [the researchers said].

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