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Tears of Covid Positive Patients Can Be Source of SARS-COV-2 Infection, Finds Study

Out of the 120 Covid positive patients, 60 had ocular manifestions and 60 did not.

Out of the 120 Covid positive patients, 60 had ocular manifestions and 60 did not.

The Government Medical College in Amritsar has published a study on the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in tears of positive patients with and without ‘ocular manifestation’ based on a sample size of 120.

A recent study has found that Covid-19 infection can be transmitted through tears of patients as SARS-CoV-2 has been detected in conjunctival secretions. However, respiratory droplets remain the primary source of coronavirus infection.

The Government Medical College in Amritsar has published a study on the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in tears of positive patients with and without ‘ocular manifestation’, an opthalmological condition that directly or indirectly is caused by a disease in another part of the body and sometimes the first visible symptom, based on a sample size of 120.

Out of the 120 Covid positive patients, 60 had ocular manifestions and 60 did not. Researchers found conjunctival hyperemia in 41 patients, follicular reaction in 38, chemosis in 35, mucoid discharge in 20 patients, and itching in 11. About 37% of patients with ocular symptoms had moderate Covid-19 infection, the remaining 63% had a severe infection, The Times of India reported.

In the second set, about 52% of the patients had moderate disease and more than 48% had severe disease.

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“About 17.5% of patients who under evaluation for RT-PCR of tears were positive for Covid-19 out of which 11 patients (9.16%) had ocular manifestations and 10 (8.33%) did not have any ocular complaint, pointing out that coronavirus infected patients can shed the infection in conjunctival secretions even in the absence of ocular involvement,” the report said.

The study called for extra caution and observed that “ophthalmologists need to be more careful" and maintain distance from the patients while examining them.

Several studies, including one by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), found the third wave could hit India by August end. But a deeper look at Covid data tells us that the third wave has already hit India.

On July 7, India saw active cases rising in the country after 55 days. The day saw an addition of 784 active cases with the total active caseload burden going slightly up to 460,704, data released from the Union Health Ministry showed. And the second rise came just within a week, on July 14, when, this time, active cases went up by 2,095. Data released by the Health Ministry recently showed 73 districts still have a positivity rate of over 10%. This means 10 people turning out positive from 100 tested and 47 of such districts are in northeast India.

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first published:August 02, 2021, 12:57 IST