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Scientists at the University of Hong Kong's Department of Microbiology (HKU) have determined that COVID-19 can cause serious testicular problems and hormonal changes in men. The study has been accepted for publication in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

A group of researchers from the Department of Microbiology at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) investigated changes in the testes and hormones of hamsters infected with SARS-CoV-2. They found that the animals infected with the virus developed mild pneumonia, but even when researchers administered coronavirus by the intranasal route, the infection was associated with a sharp drop in sperm count and testosterone levels for four to seven days.

Moreover, infected animals developed testicular atrophy, a condition associated with a reduction in their size. Within 42-120 days after infection, hamsters showed a significant reduction in sex hormone levels. Other ailments were also observed, such as necrosis of the seminiferous tubules, disorders of spermatogenesis or acute orchitis.

In the control group, hamsters were given the influenza virus. However, whether the virus entered the body intranasally or intranasally, no similar results were seen. The infection did not damage the genitals.

Inflammation, degeneration and necrosis of testicular tissue were noted 7 to 120 days after infection. The researchers say that infection with the Omikron and Delta variants causes similar changes in the testes, but this damage can be prevented by vaccination. - Vaccination against COVID-19 may prevent this complication - said the head of the study, Prof. Yuen Kwok-yung.

In his opinion, it is necessary to take into account disorders related to the malfunctioning of the male reproductive system after COVID-19 infection. - In convalescent treatment of men, it is important to be aware of possible hypogonadism and reduced fertility - said Prof. Kwok-yung.

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