The Star (Jamaica)



Local urologist Dr Elon Thompson says there is insufficie­nt proof that the novel coronaviru­s can linger in penises and cause men to become impotent.

Thompson, asked to comment on the findings of a study published in the World Journal

of Men’s Health, said there is not enough evidence to link erectile dysfunctio­n (ED) and COVID-19.

The study was led by Dr Ranjith Ramasamy, director of the reproducti­ve urology programme at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine. Ramasamy and his team, armed with an electron microscope, found coronaviru­s particles in penile tissue samples taken from two recovered COVID-19 patients who became impotent following their infections months earlier.

Both men had normal erectile function prior to their infections.

Thompson told THE STAR that more studies are needed before the link between COVID19 and erectile dysfunctio­n, which is sometimes referred to as impotence, can be made.

“The thing about impotence is that there can be many different factors that lead to it. You would have to do a large-scale study to really get the numbers that you would want to prove it’s related,” he said.


Jamaica is currently battling a wave of COVID-19 infections, which is believed to be a direct result of the highly contagious Delta strain being identified in the island. As of Tuesday, there were 494 persons in hospitals with the virus, 32 of whom have been listed as critically ill. Health experts believe that he Delta variant is more likely to cause hospitalis­ation and death.

Data from the Ministry of Health and Wellness indicate that there were 19 deaths recorded on Tuesday, moving the country’s total to 1,339.

Thompson said that the taking of the COVID-19 vaccine is critical in slowing the spread of the virus. He also said that men should be encouraged to get help if they are suffering from ED.

“Getting vaccinated should depend on public health concerns and not ED concerns, because the evidence is not so strong to link the two,” he said.

The urologist also rubbished the claims made by some men that the COVID-19 vaccinatio­n may lead to impotence.

“There is absolutely no evidence to support that, and I challenge anybody that says that to show us evidence. There are anti-vaxxers who will find every single reason to say that the vaccine does a lot of things. But let us have the discussion with evidence and not go by hearsay. Jamaica is a place where we really like to hear things and believe it like gospel, but we need to behave more responsibl­y,” he said.

He told THE STAR that persons need to be mindful of the rumours that are being spread, especially at a time when the hospitals are crammed with COVID-19 patients.

“One of the sad realities of this country is that everybody wants the Government to do something for them and no one wants to do anything for themselves. We depend too heavily on politician­s to do our work. We come up with so many reasons not to do things when all the evidence is staring us in the face. I support vaccine and I have always supported vaccinatio­n processes,” he said. Thompson added that he believed he has not caught the virus yet because he is vaccinated.

“We know that it does not prevent you from getting it but it does offer some protection from the severity of the illness. The majority of the admissions in hospitals now are unvaccinat­ed people,” he said.

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Dr Elon Thompson

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