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Study shows that severe COVID-19 infection can reduce male fertility

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ATHENS, Ga. (StudyFinds.org– Researchers from the University of Georgia found that severe cases of COVID-19 can infect the testicles and reduce male fertility. The study authors looked at all the ways the coronavirus could target and infect testicular cells in male patients.

“We know that in severe cases, the testicles don’t function well during COVID,” said study lead author Clayton Edenfield, PhD in environmental health sciences at UGA’s College of Public Health. , said in a university release.

Edenfield worked under Associate Professor Charles Easley, study co-author on the work.

“Fortunately, most people of reproductive age are fairly well protected from severe cases, but in the 1% affected, the virus can do a lot of damage,” the researcher said. more.

The group has included all available evidence regarding Interactions of SARS-CoV-2 with human cells, patient reports and data, and previous research on the effects of other SARS-CoV viruses on the testes.

Men’s testicles susceptible to COVID?

So far, scientists have determined that SARS-CoV-2 is capable of multi-organ infection throughout the human body via two major proteins: angiotensin-converting enzyme receptor 2 (ACE2) and transmembrane serine protease 2 (TMPRSS2). These proteins essentially act as doors, allowing the virus to enter the cell.

The testicles produce both of those proteins, most likely making them quite susceptible to viral infections and potentially cellular damage. Although it is not 100% certain that the coronavirus testicular infection possible, clinical reports indicate that it is possible.

“There have been post-mortem reports showing some type of virus entering the testicles as well as an adverse effect of the virus on orchitis. So these would be things like inflammation and inflammation of the testicles, testicular pain, as well as a breakdown of the blood-testicular barrier — and even in some cases, the actual virus in the ejaculate, Edenfield explained.

Prolonged COVID can leave long-term damage for men

A lot of Long COVID patients had sustained damage to organs like the heart or lungs, and the study authors say there’s no reason to think the testicles would be any different. For example, it’s possible that COVID-19 could damage the blood-testicular barrier, which acts as a barrier against environmental toxins, viruses, and the body’s own immune cells. People.

“If it were destroyed by the whole body’s immune response and the virus could interact with the blood-testicular barrier, you would see a very large amount of it. fertility reduction,” noted Edenfield.

The researcher adds that such an infection can be detected by looking for a low sperm count or lower-than-average sperm quality.

It’s important to note that scientists have not confirmed a definite link between COVID-19 and male fertility. However, the study authors say the absolute worst case scenario would be for the coronavirus to damage the cells responsible for making sperm. Besides affecting fertility, such development can also lead to birth defects.

The research appeared in the magazine Nature Reviews Urology.

https://kfor.com/news/severe-covid-19-infections-may-reduce-male-fertility-study-finds/ Study shows that severe COVID-19 infection can reduce male fertility

JACLYN DIAZ

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