The new strain of the Coronavirus has infected 156,396 people globally till now. In China, 80,995 people were diagnosed with COVID-19 while the new epicentre Italy has recorded 21,157 cases, as per the latest update. Recent reports have revealed that along with the respiratory system, this virus could cause testicular damage and male infertility.

Chinese experts recently revealed that the section of men who have been infected with the Novel Coronavirus and want to have children in future should carry out inspections after recovery.

Coronavirus
Patients are seen at a temporary hospital converted from "Wuhan Livingroom" in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, Feb. 10, 2020 Xinhua/IANS

Coronavirus affecting male fertility

A team of Chinese researchers led by Li Yufeng, a professor from the Center for Reproductive Medicine of Tongji Medical College in Wuhan, where the Novel Coronavirus emerged in December 2019, found that the male COVID-19 patients are at high risk of developing fertility issues.

The findings were published on the website of the hospital on March 10 and then got posted by the official website of Hubei Province on Thursday. The published report was removed after the news went viral on Chinese social media platforms.

The team of scientists revealed that the COVID-19 could get into the cells through the combination of spike protein (S protein) and angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) which caused tissue damage. As per the Chinese team, along with lungs, there are many other organs in the human body, such as testes, small intestine, kidney, heart, and thyroid gland which could be affected by the ACE2.

According to the experts, the male reproductive function could be affected, as a large amount of ACE2 detected in testes, mainly concentrated in testicular spermatogonia, are rounded stem cells that lie in contact with the basement membrane of the seminiferous tubules.

male fertility
Fertility Pixabay

Outbreaks and effect on male body

It should be mentioned that in the past researchers have found SARS virus with similar ability, as they noted that another virus from the family of Coronavirus that appeared in 2002 in China, could damage male fertility. The researchers noticed that SARS virus infection can cause severe immune damage to the testes, causing inflammation of the testicles, known as Orchitis and dysfunction of some reproductive-related cells.

The Chinese team said that the deadly Novel Coronavirus may cause testicular damage, affecting the production of sperm and androgen synthesis, which occurs specifically within the Leydig cells that populate the interstitial tissue of the testis. The obstruction in sperm production and androgen synthesis would affect male fertility and then it may lead to infertility. It would also affect the sexual life of a COVID-infected man due to fading male secondary sexual characteristics and sexual function.