To detect the presence of viral RNA of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) in conjunctival swab specimens of coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) patients.
Forty-five COVID-19 patients positive for real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for SARS-CoV-2 in nasopharyngeal swab with or without ocular manifestations were included in the study. The conjunctival swab of each patient was collected by an ophthalmologist posted for COVID duty.
Out of 45 patients, 35 (77.77%) were males and the rest were females. The mean age was 31.26 ± 12.81 years. None of the patients had any ocular manifestations. One (2.23%) out of 45 patients was positive for RT-PCR SARS-CoV-2 in the conjunctival swab.
This study shows that SARS-CoV-2 can be detected in conjunctival swabs of confirmed cases of COVID-19 patients. Though the positivity rate of detecting SARS-CoV-2 in conjunctival swabs is very less, care should be exercised during the ocular examination of patients of COVID-19.