Since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers have looked at how the SARS-CoV-2 virus affects the male reproductive system. University of Florida Health scientists suggested in a November 2021 study that men with COVID are more than three times more likely to develop erectile dysfunction (ED) than men without it. Another study indicated men with COVID experience decreased sperm health, which researchers attributed to inflammation in reproductive organ tissues, more oxidative stress and higher rates of sperm cell death.
Researchers in China looked at reproductive tissue from men who died of COVID complications early in the pandemic. Their October 2020 study found excessive proteins and other cells that pointed to inflammation, which can affect erectile function and sperm health.