Covid May Affect Men’s Reproductive Health: Study: The Tribune India
New York, June 18
U.S. researchers have found that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, can infect the testes of infected hamsters, a finding that may have important implications for men’s reproductive health.
The team, at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), have been studying Zika virus infection in the testes for years and wondering if SARS-CoV-2 could cause a similar disease.
Hamsters are commonly used to model Covid-19 in humans because they develop similar signs of illness.
The virus was detected in the testes of all infected hamsters during the first week, but gradually waned.
Researchers believe this may represent what might be happening in men with mild to moderate Covid-19 disease. The team detailed the study in the journal Microorganisms.
“These results are the first step in understanding how Covid-19 affects the male genital tract and potentially male reproductive health,” said Shannan Rossi, associate professor in the departments of pathology and microbiology and immunology at UTMB.
“We have a lot more to do before we have the full picture. In the future, we will explore ways to mitigate this impact, including using antivirals, antibody therapies and vaccines,” Rossi added.
As the pandemic continues, clinicians continue to report their findings that Covid-19 affects more than the lungs. Some patients have reported testicular pain and some reports have shown a decrease in testosterone, a key hormone produced in the testes. Autopsies also showed significant disruption of the testes at the cellular level, including the presence of immune cells.
“Given the scale of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is essential to study how this disease can impact the testes and the potential consequences on disease severity, reproductive health and sexual transmission” , said lead author Dr Rafael Kroon Campos, postdoctoral fellow at the UTMB laboratory.
Future studies also include modeling conditions associated with severe Covid-19, such as pre-existing conditions like obesity and diabetes and the worrisome variants of SARS-CoV-2, the researchers said. – IANS