SARS-Coronavirus-2 RNA is Absent in Human Corneal Tissues?
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To examine corneal tissue for SARS-CoV-2 positivity with regard to implications for tissue procurement, processing, corneal transplantation and ocular surgery on healthy patients. Researchers performed quantitative (q)RT-PCR-testing for SARS-CoV-2 RNA on corneal stroma and endothelium, bulbar conjunctiva, conjunctival fluid swabs, anterior chamber fluid and corneal epithelium of COVID-19 postmortem donors.

Included in this study were 10 bulbi of 5 COVID-19 patients who passed away due to respiratory insufficiency. SARS-CoV-2 was detected via a pharyngeal swab and broncho-alveolar lavage. Tissue procurement and tissue preparation were performed with personal protective equipment (PPE) and the necessary protective measures. qRT-PCR-testing was performed for each of the above-mentioned tissues and intraocular fluids.

The qRT-PCRs yielded no viral RNA in the following ocular tissues and intraocular fluid: Corneal stroma and endothelium, bulbar-limbal conjunctiva, conjunctival fluid swabs, anterior chamber fluid and corneal epithelium.

In this study no SARS-CoV-2-RNA was detected in conjunctiva, anterior chamber fluid and corneal tissues (endothelium, stroma and epithelium) of COVID-19 donors. This implicates that the risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection via corneal or conjunctival tissue is very low. However, further studies on a higher number of COVID-19 patients are necessary to confirm these results. This might be of high importantce for donor tissue procurement, processing, and corneal transplantation.

Source: https://journals.lww.com/corneajrnl/Abstract/9000/Absence_of_Severe_Acute_Respiratory.96091.aspx
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