Scientists believe that COVID-19 could affect male fertility after an early study showed patients who died from the virus had decreased sperm counts.
Researchers also rebuffed what they called “myths” on social media about the effect of COVID-19 vaccines on male fertility.
Scientists from the University of Miami examined six patients who died from COVID-19 – three of them were found to have decreased sperm counts.
The COVID-19 virus was also found in the testicular cell tissue of one of the men who died from the virus, and another who was infected but survived.
The researchers also concluded that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines appeared not to have an effect on the male reproductive system after conducting a study on 45 vaccinated men.
The scientists took aim at the claims of Canadian pathologist Dr Roger Hodkinson that vaccines could cause “mass infertility,” published by UK website The Daily Expose, which regularly posts vaccine-skeptic content.
“Contrary to myths circulating on social media, COVID-19 vaccines do not cause erectile dysfunction and male infertility,” Ranjith Ramasamy, one of the Miami researchers, wrote for academic media outlet The Conversation.
Although the sample size was small, the research raises questions around the consequences of the COVID-19 virus, according to Ramasamy.
He pointed to other viruses including zika and mumps that are known to affect sperm production.
The academic noted that further research into the impact of COVID-19 on male fertility should be conducted.
“I also believe the research presents an urgent public health message to the US regarding the COVID-19 vaccines,” Ramasamy wrote.
“For the millions of American men who remain unvaccinated, you may want to again consider the consequences if and when this highly aggressive virus finds you.”