Coronavirus spreading through men’s semen, remote ― Experts
Nigerian experts have explained why it is remotely impossible for coronavirus, the germs that cause COVID-19 infection, to be sexually transmitted even as Chinese doctors warned that coronavirus can persist in men’s semen even after they have begun to recover.
A team at Shangqiu Municipal Hospital tested 38 male patients treated there at the height of the pandemic in China, in January and February. About 16% of them had evidence of the coronavirus in their semen. About a quarter of them were in the acute stage of infection and nearly 9 per cent of them were recovering. It was reported in the journal JAMA Network Open.
Dr Adetona Fayemiwo, a medical microbiologist specialist at the University College Hospital, UCH, Ibadan, said that it is not yet clear if coronavirus can spread this way.
Dr Fayemiwo declared that although everything about COVID-19 is new and people have not done extensive research on it, the possibility of the infection spreading through sex can only be established if coronavirus is found to be present in the semen of men that are asymptomatic of COVID-19.
According to him, “Somebody down with coronavirus may not be having sex, so all these issues of sexual transmission will only be by someone that is asymptomatic of COVID-19 in the society.
“If we are able to estimate of the number of asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19 virus, analysis their sperm for the virus, then we would be able to prove this ascertain that yes it is sexually transmitted. The possibility of social transmission is possible, but not until we have scientific proof on to that it will just be mere speculations.”
Dr Augustine Takure, consultant urologist at the UCH, Ibadan stated that coronavirus could be in the blood, but it has an affinity for the chest, and as such survives more in the lungs.
He declared: “The fact that they found the new coronavirus in the semen does not mean that it can be transmitted sexually and the truth is that only one study says that they found it among 16 per cent of 38 patients who are recovering from COVID-19. That is not a very high percentage.
“But other studies say that there is no evidence to support that. Currently, those that have a larger number of participants say that there is no evidence that the virus is found in the semen that it can be said to be sexually transmitted.
So, there are more studies against it than for it. We need to wait, it is still too early to start drawing conclusion but the virus can be found in the blood, that one is known.”
President, College of Nigerian Pathologists(CNP), Professor Phillip Olatunji, stated that the chances of coronavirus transmission through droplets as a result of the close contact during sex than from the semen of someone that is asymptomatic of COVID-19.
Professor Olatunji, a consultant haematologist at the Onabisi Onajanjo University Teaching Hospital (OOUTH), Sagamu declared that “If the sexual transmission was significant, then commercial sex workers should have been very more among those who have this infection, and that is not the situation now.”
He stated that the higher chances of coronavirus transmitting through droplets were why the first set of people health workers to stop attending to patients were dentists, ophthalmologists and surgeons because they have to be close to the face of their patients either to examine or to work on them.