it turned Out one more unexpected threat that COVID-19 carries men.

Coronavirus continues to surprise us, and the unexpected news is its ability to put men below the belt.

American scientists have shown that it can persist in the testes of men who recover from even a mild form COVID-19. And the Chinese doctors found it in the semen. What does this mean for us? If the coronavirus is transmitted sexually? Can cause infertility in men?

we talk with a leading expert in the field of pediatric andrology, Director of the City center of reproductive health, corresponding member RANS, Professor, MD Vladimir Tarusina.

Alexander Melnikov, “AIF”: Dmitry I. how do you assess the studies from the USA and China?

Dmitry Tarusin: They raised some very important issues. Although now, the main efforts should be directed at preventing development of the pandemic and saving people from an immediate threat to their lives. But ahead of us, no doubt, are consequences of this infection. And it’s very sad, especially given that male fertility and so seriously affected in the last 50 years.

— How does the coronavirus can affect fertility? As they say the comedians, where light and where the eggs — what’s the connection?

— First of all let me remind you that is already well known viruses that can make men infertile. All of you probably know that it can be after epidemic parotitis (mumps). It is less known that can also operate certain types of herpes viruses. This is due to the presence of cells involved in the development of sperm, special targets, which beat the viruses of mumps. As a result, these cells are targeted and healthy sperm are not formed, which leads to infertility.

Why is this possible? We know very well that it attacks the specific protein located on the membrane of the cells (he has a very long and strange name, and for brevity it is referred to as АПФ2). He plays the role of gateway to the penetration of the coronavirus in a cell. Inside it multiplies, kills it and spreads throughout the body. So, since АПФ2 is in the cells of the alveoli — respiratory sacs that comprise the lungs — coronavirus causes pneumonia. That’s all they know. But АПФ2 is in the structures of the testicle. And therefore, if this virus gets here, the gate opened for him, too, as in the lungs.

And what are the consequences?

— first, АПФ2 protein is extremely rich in those stem cells from which develop the spermatozoa. The andrologists are well aware that their defeat usually stops the formation of sperm in the earliest stages of development.

— That is, m��zhno to say that cuts this process in the Bud?

— Exactly. But that’s not all. АПФ2 a lot in Leydig cells — they produce the male hormone testosterone. It is extremely important for potency and the health of the whole male body at all. Plus coronavirus, it seems, can hit more and Sertoli cells. These are “houses for sperm”.

Spooky prospects of work. Since the coronavirus discovered inside a sperm, does this mean that it can be transmitted to the fetus at conception? And what would that be?

— For anything. For example, the transmission of the virus from husband to wife. And when fertilization — the transfer of fetal abnormal chromosomes damaged by a virus, or transfer of fragments of the virus (transcripts) embedded in the RNA of ribosomes (this is intracellular structures which produce a protein). We are still unable to conclusively say where it leads — infected women, pathology of fetus development , etc. This is a new problem, we have no long-term observations.

For example, herpes simplex virus we know that these microorganisms can live inside the sperm. This using electron microscopy have proven our well-known reproductive biologist Professor Elizabeth Bragin. All the consequences of this we have to find out, and such research has already begun. I should add that the coronavirus can infect even the prostate. This will manifest itself with problems with urination and pain during intercourse.

— You assume the worst case scenario?

— can Not conclusively say this now, but that the risks are extremely high, quite certain.

And the young men who have no children who are not sick COVID-19, I will tell directly — you direct road to a sperm Bank. It is possible that it will need for IVF (in vitro fertilization) when you decide to become a father.

— But this is only part of the problem, protein АПФ2 in other organs.

— Indeed, it is present in many organs. And we already know that diarrhea (diarrhea) also may occur in COVID-19, is АПФ2 in the gut, and kidney damage in hypertensive patients so that it is in the kidneys. It is widespread in the brain, which is why some patients experience symptoms of loss of smell. This is due to the damage of myelin — the “insulator of nerve fibers”. due virus suffer special cells that manufacture.

From such a wide presence of these proteins in the body and the reproductive system involuntarily come to mind conspiracy theories about the “Golden billion”. It is not excluded that many survivors will remain fruitless. But I did, by the way.

You have been doing the ��reproduktivnoi system and better understand the subtle mechanisms of its work. See something solution to the problem?

— We will continue to study this issue, and it will be international cooperation. That’s one of the directions. There are drugs that block the enzyme. Take them high blood pressure and heart problems. It is believed that they increase the risk of flow COVID-19. Perhaps the output will be that we will find the promoters of the APF, which will impede the transmission of the virus in the cells of the body that it can affect.