Susceptibility of Eye Mucosa to SARS CoV-2: Sanitary Biosecurity

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Héctor Rodríguez Bustos; Monserrat Vásquez Rojas; Patricio Gutiérrez Morales; Yessenia Vargas Lara; Paola Vieytas; Camilo Arriaza Onel & Omar Espinoza-Navarro


SARS CoV-2, the causal agent of the Covid- 19 disease, infects the digestive and respiratory mucosa, affecting epithelial cells. The virus enters through the ACE2 membrane re- ceptor causing the disruption of cell homeostasis. Frequent reports indicate the presence of ocular conjunctivitis in patients diagnosed with Covid-19, which has alerted scientists to the potential source of viral infection from lacrimal secretions. The epithelia of the sub- palpebral and corneal ocular conjunctiva are characterized by presenting the receptor for angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and associated transmembrane protease serine 2 (TMPRSS2), whose interaction activates cytokine release mechanisms, with the ability to start the infectious conjunctivitis process by SARS CoV-2, but not necessarily extend the infection to the digestive and respiratory systems. Although this inflammatory process is more frequent as an expression of the general and more serious infection. However, whatever the route of infection or entry of the SARS CoV-2 virus, it is important to consider the risk of infection of tears and conjunctival secretions in patients. This study aims to draw attention to health care and control measures, incorporating better standards of personal protection and biosafety, especially in the areas of ophthalmology, assuming that the ocular mucosa can be a route of entry for the virus, and at the same time a source of contagion. A further consideration is the potential of viral infection with associated underlying diseases, such as glaucoma and diabetes. It is also suggested to incorporate histological studies of the ocular mucosa to differentiate healthy and infected epithelia.

KEY WORDS: Ocular Epithelium; Covid-19; Health Biosafety; Glaucoma; Ophthalmology.

How to cite this article

RODRÍGUEZ, B. H.; VÁSQUEZ, R. M.; GUTIÉRREZ, M. P.; VARGAS, L. Y.; VIEYTAS, P.; ARRIAZA, O. C. & ESPINOZA-NAVARRO, O. Susceptibility of eye mucosa to SARS CoV-2: Sanitary biosecurity. Int. J. Morphol., 39(1):167- 171, 2021.