Purpose: To assess SARS-CoV-2 virus in conjunctival tears and secretions of positive confirmed COVID-19 patients.
Methods: 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.
Results: 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.
Conclusion: The SARS-CoV-2 virus could be found in tears and conjunctival secretions in SARS-CoV-2 patients with or without conjunctivitis.