COVID-19 can invade testis tissue in some men who are infected with the virus, according to a new study by University of Miami Miller School of Medicine researchers published in The World Journal of Men’s Health.

Image/Hannah A Bullock; Azaibi Tamin

These findings could be the first step in discovering COVID-19’s potential impact on male fertility and whether the virus can be sexually transmitted, said study lead author Ranjith Ramasamy, M.D., associate professor and director of reproductive urology at the Miller School.

Dr. Ramasamy and Miller School colleagues analyzed testis tissue from autopsies of six men who died of COVID-19 infection. They found impaired sperm function in three of the testis specimens and evidence of COVID-19 using electron microscopy in the tissue of one.

“We also identified the presence of the virus in a man who underwent a testis biopsy for infertility but had a previous history of COVID-19. So the patient tested negative and was asymptomatic after having COVID-19 but still showed the presence of the virus inside the testes,” Dr. Ramasamy said. “This is the first published research to report on the case of a live patient to demonstrate the presence of COVID-19 in testis tissue of a patient who recovered from the virus. The finding is novel, remarkable, and certainly worthy of further exploration.”

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