Scientists at John Hopkins University School of Medicine published a report claiming that the new coronavirus can enter the body through the eyes after discovering that the eyes contain a protein used by the disease scientifically called SARS-CoV-2 to bind to cells.
According to scientists, Covid-19 or SARS-CoV-2 – locks onto the ACE-2 receptors in the eyes because these receptors are known as the “gateway” to cells inside the body.
These ACE-2 receptors are found in the airways and lungs, where the virus first enters cells, as well as other organs, and scientists at Johns Hopkins have now discovered that the eyes produce ACE-2, making it a target for the virus.
The study suggests that if sneezing or coughing droplets from an infected person were to land on the surface of the eye, the virus could start to enter cells, explaining why some patients with coronavirus conjunctivitis – an inflammation of the eye.
Scientists have also revealed that tears are a source of the spread of infection.
The team was chaired by Lingli Zhou of the Department of Ophthalmology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore. They analyzed ten human post-mortem eyes from people who did not die from COVID-19 for expression of ACE2 (angiotensin 2 converting enzyme).
Scientists also looked for TMPRSS2, an enzyme that facilitates viral entry after binding of the viral peak protein to ACE2. Both ACE2 and TMPRSS2 must be present in the same cell for Covid-19 to replicate effectively in human cells.
All eye specimens verified by scientists have expressed ACE-2 in the tissue that lines the inside of the eyelids, called the conjunctiva, the clear outer layer of the eye, called the cornea, and the limbus, which is the border between the cornea and the white of the eye according to the report of the scientists published on MedRxiv.
TMPRSS2 has also been expressed according to research that has been sparked by “extensive speculation” that ocular surfaces are a possible entry site for the virus.
Dr. Zhou and his colleagues wrote: “Together, these results indicate that cells on the surface of the eye, including the conjunctiva, are susceptible to infection by SARS-CoV-2 and could, therefore, serve as a gateway. as well as a reservoir for person-to-person transmission of this virus. ”