However, it's important to note that although the researchers detected genetic material from SARS-CoV-2 in semen, the study does not prove that these virus particles are "viable", or capable of transmitting infection, according to The New York Times.
"We should not be surprised if the virus which causes COVID-19 is found in the semen of some men, since this has been shown with many other viruses such as Ebola and Zika", Allan Pacey, a professor of andrology at Britain's Sheffield University, told Reuters.
These findings were released after a team at Shangqiu Municipal Hospital tested 38 male patients treated there at the height of the pandemic in China, in January and February.
Genetic material from the coronavirus was found in the semen of six patients - four of whom were at the "acute stage of infection" and two of whom were "recovering".
"Abstinence or condom use might be considered as preventive measure for these patients".
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"Even if the virus can not replicate in the male reproductive system, it may persist, possibly resulting from the privileged immunity of testes", the team added. The researchers didn't follow up with the men, so it's not known how long the virus remained in their semen, or whether they could have spread it to their partners during sex.
"This finding raises the possibility that Covid-19 might also be transmissible via semen and thus via sexual contact, perhaps including during the recovery phase".
Authorities believe the coronavirus mainly spreads from droplets produced when infected people cough.
They immediately realized that the smaller llama antibodies "that could neutralize SARS would very likely also recognize the COVID-19 virus", Saelens said.
To be safe, though, "it may be wise to avoid sexual contact with men until they are 14 days without symptoms", Dr. Peter Schlegel, the group's immediate past president, said in a statement.