Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch have observed that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can infect the testes of infected hamsters. The findings, published in the journal Microorganisms, could help explain symptoms some men with COVID-19 have reported and have important implications for men’s health.
Some patients have reported testicular pain and some reports have shown decreases in testosterone, a key hormone produced in the testes. Autopsies have also shown significant disruption of the testes at the cellular level, including the presence of immune cells.
“Given the magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical to investigate how this disease can impact the testes, and the potential consequences for disease severity, reproductive health, and sexual transmission,” said Dr. Rafael Kroon Campos, the study’s lead author and postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Shannan Rossi at UTMB.