No evidence of severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus 2 in semen of males recovering from coronavirus disease 2019.Fertil Steril. 2020 06; 113(6):1135-1139.FS
To describe detection of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-coronavirus 2 (CoV-2) in seminal fluid of patients recovering from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and to describe the expression profile of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and Transmembrane Serine Protease 2 (TMPRSS2) within the testicle.
Observational, cross-sectional study.
Tertiary referral center.
Thirty-four adult Chinese males diagnosed with COVID-19 through confirmatory quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) from pharyngeal swab samples.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S)
Identification of SARS-CoV-2 on qRT-PCR of single ejaculated semen samples. Semen quality was not assessed. Expression patterns of ACE2 and TMPRSS2 in the human testis are explored through previously published single-cell transcriptome datasets.
Six patients (19%) demonstrated scrotal discomfort suggestive of viral orchitis around the time of COVID-19 confirmation. Severe acute respiratory syndrome-CoV-2 was not detected in semen after a median of 31 days (interquartile range, 29-36 days) from COVID-19 diagnosis. Single-cell transcriptome analysis demonstrates sparse expression of ACE2 and TMPRSS2, with almost no overlapping gene expression.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome-CoV-2 was not detected in the semen of patients recovering from COVID-19 1 month after COVID-19 diagnosis. Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2-mediated viral entry of SARS-CoV-2 into target host cells is unlikely to occur within the human testicle based on ACE2 and TMPRSS2 expression. The long-term effects of SARS-CoV-2 on male reproductive function remain unknown.