COVID can infect men’s genitals, cause infertility and erectile dysfunction
It’s been a few months since Nicki Minaj and others amplified the lie that COVID vaccines cause men’s testicles to swell. And now, some researchers have found that the COVID-19 virus enters the penis, prostate, and testicles of some men and can cause long-term issues with their sexual health and fertility.
There’s a lot of Venn diagram overlap between anti-vaxxers, COVID deniers, and Republican and libertarian macho men who think the virus is no match for them and their great personal Trumpian strength. But wait until they hear their battles with COVID might give them a hard time hardening their dicks!
A pre-print, non-peer-reviewed study in the journal Northwestern Medicine finds that “multiple tissues of the male genital tract can be infected with SARS-CoV-2”, and the finding is based on PET scans of rhesus infected with COVID macaques. (Primates have been found to have a disease progression similar to humans when infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and are therefore used as study subjects.) The researchers say that they mainly expected to find the virus present in the upper part of the nose and brain. – which would be why COVID patients often lose their sense of taste or smell. But they also found it in 10-20% of the genitalia of male subjects – specifically in the prostate, testicular vasculature, penis and testicles.
This follows how some other viruses, including SARS-CoV-1, Ebola and mumps, also infect the male genitalia – and mumps has long been known to cause infertility.
And that’s just one of many strange, troubling, and late complications of COVID that scientists have been warning about over the past two years as the novel virus continues to be studied.
Thomas Hope, professor of cell and developmental biology at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine and principal investigator of the study, said his team was surprised by the results. But they confirm other clinical studies that have found the latest effects of COVID in male human patients, including testicular pain, erectile dysfunction and reduced sperm count.
“While this is only a small percentage of those infected, this represents millions of men who may suffer a negative impact on their sexual health and fertility,” Hope said in a statement.
The results of the study have yet to be peer-reviewed and published, and are considered preliminary.
Hope’s lab at Northwestern will continue to study the effects of COVID on male genitalia at future times and will look at potential therapies for the conditions mentioned above. Additionally, they plan to examine whether similar impacts of the virus occur in women’s reproductive systems.
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