Study: COVID-19 infects four areas of the male genital tract

“Surprisingly, the male reproductive tract lit up like a Christmas tree”

By Kelly McClure

Nights & Weekends Editor

Published March 6, 2022 11:20AM (EST)

Model of Human Coronavirus, fractured (Getty Images/Alexandr Gnezdilov Light Painting)
Model of Human Coronavirus, fractured (Getty Images/Alexandr Gnezdilov Light Painting)

A new study conducted by Tulane National Primate Research Center has collected data pointing towards evidence that the coronavirus has a negative impact on four different areas of the male genital tract.

The 500-acre primate center where the study was conducted is located in Covington, Louisiana and houses upwards of 4,800 primates. Results concluded that three male rhesus macaques tested showed evidence of coronavirus in their "penis, prostate, testicles and a network of temperature-regulating veins," according to coverage by The Times-Picayune

"Three out of three is pretty phenomenal," said Ronald Veazey, a professor of pathology at the Tulane University School of Medicine and an author of the study.

Related: Covid still threatens millions of Americans. Why are we so eager to move on?

Veazey stated that he and his researchers began the study a year and a half ago, and went into it thinking they'd discover the virus in the gut of the primates, but things shook out a little further south.

"Surprisingly, the male reproductive tract lit up like a Christmas tree," said Veazey. "We weren't even thinking male – it just happened to be a male macaque."

The study has not yet been peer reviewed, but the data collected sheds new light on the, still, surprisingly mysterious effects of coronavirus on the body. It's not yet known if the effects found to take place in male genitals is long-term, or if they go hand in hand with other symptoms such as pain, erectile dysfunction or low sperm count.

Want a daily wrap-up of all the news and commentary Salon has to offer? Subscribe to our morning newsletter, Crash Course.

What the study does seem to clearly show is that the male genitalia are a prime hunting ground for the virus, which is troubling.

"What tissue in the body would be the most responsive and have the most expansion and contraction? The penis," said Veazey. "It's a major target. He furthered that "It certainly is another excuse to get vaccinated," said Veazey. "Any strong virile males who think the vaccines going to hurt them probably should reconsider."

Read more:


By Kelly McClure

Kelly McClure is a journalist and fiction writer who lives in New Orleans. She is Salon's Nights and Weekends Editor covering daily news, politics and culture. Her work has been featured in Vulture, The A.V. Club, Vanity Fair, Cosmopolitan, Nylon, Vice, and elsewhere. She is the author of Something is Always Happening Somewhere.

MORE FROM Kelly McClure

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Aggregate Covid-19 Study