Tears of COVID 19 patients could be a source of spreading virus, finds study

Aneela SiddiquiWeb Editor

03rd Aug, 2021. 03:38 pm

According to a study, COVID-19 patients’ tears may be a source of new coronavirus infection spread, however respiratory droplets remain the predominant source of infection.

Based on a sample size of 120, the Government Medical College in Amritsar published a study on the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in tears of positive patients with and without ‘ocular manifestation,’ an ophthalmological condition that is sometimes the first visible symptom and is caused directly or indirectly by a disease in another part of the body.

The Indian media reports said that 60 had ocular manifestations and 60 did not out of the 120 Covid-positive patients.

Conjunctival hyperemia was detected in 41 individuals, follicular response in 38, chemosis in 35, mucoid discharge in 20 patients, and itching in 11 patients, according to the researchers. A moderate Covid-19 infection was found in 37% of individuals with ocular symptoms, whereas a severe infection was found in 63%.

The report said, “About 17.5 percent of patients who under evaluation for RT-PCR of tears were positive for Covid-19 out of which 11 patients (9.16 percent) had ocular manifestations and 10 (8.33 percent) did not have any ocular complaint, pointing out that coronavirus infected patients can shed the infection in conjunctival secretions even in the absence of ocular involvement.”

Following the study, the ophthalmologists were urged to exercise more caution and maintain distance from the patients while examining them.


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