Coronavirus can infect eye cells, according to COVID-19 research.
Can SARS-CoV-2 get into the body through the eyes?
While it was initially assumed that COVID-19 was primarily a respiratory disease, we now know that SARS-CoV-2 harms a large number of organs and tissues. According to a new study, the virus can now also infect eye cells.
The research team, led by Timothy Blinkinsop, MD, and Benjamin Tenover, Ph.D., professors at Icahn College of Medicine on Mount Sinai in New York, showed that SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19, can be infected directly from the cells of the eye. “. The results showed that the eye is the gateway for the virus to enter the human body. The related research has been published in the journal Cell Stem Cell.
Is infection possible only through the lungs?
Previously, it was assumed that SARS-CoV-2 infection usually spread through the upper respiratory tract, which is why it is recommended to wear face masks, for example. However, it remained unclear to what extent the eye infection could also be conceived.
To find out, the researchers used cell samples taken from deceased Covid-19 patients as well as cell cultures and organic eye models to determine if SARS-COV-2 could infect cells and any potential entry points.
Infected eye surface cells
According to the study, SARS-CoV-2 can infect the surface cells of the eye. The exposed cells contained infection-related proteins such as ACE2 and TMPRSS2, an enzyme that enables the virus to enter the cell, according to the researchers. The researchers said exposure to the virus also dampened the IFN protein, which has antiviral and antibacterial capabilities.
The researchers also discovered that the limbus (the boundary between the cornea and the sclera) was particularly susceptible to infection, but the central cornea was lower.
Is it necessary to adapt preventive measures?
Overall, the results have multiple implications for the prevention of COVID-19, and they support the most recent eye protection rules that are being implemented around the world. Bulgarian business magazine news in brief.