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Coronavirus RNA Found in Corneas of COVID Patients

January 22, 2021 • 5:14 am CST
(Coronavirus Today)

The JAMA Ophthalmol published an original Investigation on January 21, 2021, which found the presence of viral genomic and subgenomic RNA of SARS-CoV-2 in the human cornea.

In this case series study carried out in a tertiary care facility, SARS-CoV-2 genomic RNA was detected in the cornea of 6 of 11 eyes (55%) of patients with viremic coronavirus disease 2019; subgenomic SARS-CoV-2 RNA was present in 4 of these 6 eyes (67%).

The German study authors noted that current guidelines recommend avoiding transplant of corneas from donors who either had COVID-19 at the time of death or who had been recently exposed to the virus because the infectivity of contaminated tissue posed to potential recipients is unknown.

However, the risk of COVID-19 infection via corneal transplant is low even in donors with SARS-CoV-2 viremia, but further research is necessary to assess the rate of SARS-CoV-2 transmission via corneal transplant.

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