COVID could damage testicles, lower sex drive and affect fertility among men, revealed a recent study by a group of scientists at the University of Hong Kong. The study was based on the testicular and other hormonal changes among hampsters infected by the coronavirus. Both Omicron and Delta can cause such complications, it also said.
The hamsters infected by the virus showed a sharp drop in sperm count as well as serum testosterone just within 7 days. There was a reduction in the size and weight of the testicles, the study showed.
Acute testicular inflammation, haemorrhage as well as the death of tissue in seminiferous tubules (responsible for sperm cell production) was also witnessed, it also revealed.
“The virus can also lower sex drive, as well as subfertility among men.”
The study was led by Professor Yuen Kwok-yung and his team in HKU, as reported by South China Morning Post.
The researchers also claimed that these changes – degeneration, inflammation as well as the death of testicular tissue – were seen within 7 days to 4 months after getting the infection. Both omicron and delta variant can cause these changes.
However, such complications could be avoided with vaccination.
Should you be worried?
A recent Japanese lab study with hamsters had revealed that Omicron BA.2 can cause severe infections. However, while looking for severity signals in humans, in terms of the increase in risks of hospitalisation among the people who have been infected with BA.2 compared to BA.1, it has been observed that we are not seeing more severity among humans. Both sub-variants cause a similar level of severity.
World Health Organisation (WHO) officials, these studies are very critical in looking for severity signals. But, the level of severity in the lab and the real world can be different.
Similarly, for the study relating to how coronavirus affects fertility among humans, it is yet to be ascertained.