A study in hamsters shows that Omicron and other variants can cause serious damage to the testicles.
If a slightly trivial slogan could sum up the study of the University of Hong Kong, it would be: Omicron, this variant that breaks them!
Researchers from the State Laboratory for Emerging Infectious Diseases in Hong Kong have indeed studied the consequences of the Omicron variant on hamsters.
Published on February 18, the study confirms what we already know about the variant, namely that it attacks the upper respiratory tract more than the lungs. Hence the major change in the dimension of the epidemic.
But these Hong Kong researchers also made a stunning discovery. The Omicron variant might not leave the testicles unscathed. Infected by Omicron, the hamsters would thus have had testicular lesions that those infected with influenza would not have developed.
And the damage would even be numerous. The virus would thus have “caused an acute decrease in the number of spermatozoa, serum testosterone (the main male sex hormone) and inhibin B (proteins produced by testicular cells) 4 to 7 days after infection”.
But that’s not all, and it may upset the virility of some, the researchers observed “subsequently a reduction in the size and weight of the testicles”.
Testicular inflammation, hemorrhage and even necrosis have also been listed, as well as a “disturbance of spermatogenesis”.
In their conclusion, the researchers call for doctors to be made aware of the care of convalescent men with Covid-19.