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SARS-CoV-2 on the ocular surface: is it truly a novel transmission route?
  1. Xuhui Chen1,
  2. Huimin Yu1,
  3. Ting Mei2,
  4. Bo Chen1,
  5. Liwen Chen1,
  6. Shanling Li2,
  7. Xian Zhang1,
  8. Xufang Sun1
  1. 1Department of Ophthalmology, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China
  2. 2Department of Nursing, Liyuan Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China
  1. Correspondence to Xufang Sun, Department of Ophthalmology, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Jiefang Avenue 1095, Wuhan, Hubei Province, 430030, P.R. China; sunxufang2016{at}163.com

Abstract

Since December 2019, the novel COVID-19 outbreak has spread rapidly around the globe and infected millions of people. Although the major transmission route of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is considered to be airborne droplets and close contact, the ocular transmission route has been reported with great concern. The current work summarises the characteristics of SARS-CoV-2, the ocular distribution of the major SARS-CoV-2 binding protein, and the experimental and clinical evidence of the ocular transmission route. Although it seems that the likelihood of the ocular surface being an infection gateway is low, SARS-CoV-2 infection or transmission via the ocular surface may cause conjunctivitis and other ocular discomfort. Therefore, good eye protection is an essential safeguard procedure, especially for medical staff.

  • Conjunctiva
  • Microbiology
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.

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Footnotes

  • XC and HY contributed equally to this manuscript.

  • Correction notice This paper has been amended since it was published. The following credit has been added: XC and HY contributed equally to this manuscript.

  • Contributors XC and HY participated in the research design, data acquisition/research execution, data analysis/interpretation and manuscript preparation. TM, BC, LC and SL participated in the data acquisition and manuscript revision. XZ and XS supervised the manuscript.

  • Funding This work was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of P.R. China (Grant No. 81974136) and Huazhong University of Science and Technology (2020kfyXGYJ068).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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