Coronavirus RNA Found in Corneas of COVID Patients
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.