Presence of viral RNA of SARS-CoV-2 in conjunctival swab spe
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Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the causative pathogen which is a member of the Coronaviridae family. A few researchers have reported keratoconjunctivitis as an ocular abnormality of SARS-CoV-2. Signs and symptoms of COVID-19 have been described as fever, cough, myalgia, fatigue, sputum production, headache, hemoptysis, diarrhea, and conjunctivitis.Since the diagnosis of COVID-19 patients cannot be only based on symptoms, reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) is a simple and reliable molecular test on respiratory samples (throat swab/nasopharyngeal swab/sputum/endotracheal aspirates, and bronchoalveolar lavage).

Close examination of patients by ophthalmologists and physical contact with patients' eyes is inevitable. This could be a potential source of the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Other viruses like adenovirus and influenza viruses are known for ocular tropism.Therefore, this study was designed to understand whether SARS-CoV-2 can be detected in the conjunctival swab of patients of COVID-19. 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

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