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Sorry, lovers: Survivors of the novel coronavirus should wait at least 30 days before having sex again — according to an official in Thailand, at least.
Veerawat Manosutthi, a senior medical expert at the Thai Disease Control Department, advised the 30-day hold-off and also implored men to use a condom after that time, according to the Thai news outlet Khaosod English.
In making the recommendation, the official referenced a recent study by Chinese researchers that discovered the novel virus in the semen of infected male individuals, ultimately raising the prospect that the virus could potentially be sexually transmitted. The study, conducted at China’s Shangqiu Municipal Hospital, was described in a research letter published earlier this month by the JAMA Network of medical journals and is the first to detect the virus in reproductive fluids.
Chinese researchers said semen from six out of 38 coronavirus survivors tested positive for the virus. According to the paper's abstract, four out of the six individuals were in “the acute stage of infection” at the time of semen collection, and the remaining two “had achieved clinical recovery."
However, the study also raised questions. It did not explain how much viral load was present in the sperm, nor did it examine whether or not the virus could be transmitted through sexual activity. Further study is needed to understand whether safe-sex practices should be part of COVID-19 prevention efforts, according to medical experts who read the paper.
“These are intriguing results,” John Brooks, chief medical officer for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC's) coronavirus response, told The Wall Street Journal. But it doesn’t mean that semen is infectious, he said.
“When we’re looking everywhere for this virus, we’re finding its footprints in different places in the body -- whether that’s a trace or if it’s a big foot is very hard to say.”
In addition to abstaining from sex, the Thai medical expert also advised survivors to hold off from kissing for the same amount of time, as the coronavirus mainly spreads from person-to-person through infectious respiratory droplets.
Fox News's Christopher Carbone contributed to this report.