To assess SARS-CoV-2 virus in conjunctival tears and secretions of positive confirmed COVID-19 patients.
A case series study that included 28 positive COVID-19 patients confirmed with nasopharyngeal swab in the period 18-28 May 2020 at Sohag Tropical Medicine Hospital. Tears and conjunctival secretions of these confirmed positive cases were collected with disposable sampling swabs at interval of 3 days after admission due to respiratory symptoms. They were examined for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay.
Thirteen (46.43%) patients were stable, 4 (14.28%) patients suffered from dyspnea, 3 (10.72%) patients suffered from high fever, 5 (17.85%) patients suffered from cough, and 3 (10.72%) patients were on mechanical ventilation. Ten (35.71%) patients suffered from conjunctivitis. Tear and conjunctival swabs were positive in 8 (28.57%) patients, while other patients' swabs were negative (71.43%). Out of 10 patients with conjunctival manifestations, 3 patients had SARS-CoV-2 in their conjunctiva using (RT-PCR) test. Out of the 18 patients with no conjunctival manifestations, 5 patients had positive SARS-CoV-2 in their conjunctiva using (RT-PCR) test.
The SARS-CoV-2 virus could be found in tears and conjunctival secretions in SARS-CoV-2 patients with or without conjunctivitis.