Comprehensive Mount Sinai Study Shows Direct Evidence That COVID-19 Can Infect Cells in Eye

Study Has Implications for Preventive Measures to Slow Spread of Virus

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Cell Stem Cell: Published Online May 2021

 

Paper Title: SARS-CoV-2 infects human adult donor eyes and hESC-derived ocular epithelium

Authors: Timothy Blenkinsop, PhD, Assistant Professor, Cell, Developmental & Regenerative Biology, and Benjamin tenOever, PhD, Professor, Microbiology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, and other coauthors.

Bottom Line: SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19, is thought to transmit and begin infection in the upper respiratory tract. For this reason, the use of face masks has been recommended for the general public. However, it remains unclear whether infection can also be initiated from the eye, thus requiring additional protective measures.

Results: The new study finds that cells in the eye can be directly infected by SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.        

Why the Research Is Interesting: The findings have an immediate impact on preventive measures to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and support new guidance for eye protection that can be instituted worldwide.

Who: Adult human eyes in an in vitro stem cell model.

When: Eyes were exposed to SARS-CoV-2 and studied after 24 hours.

What: The study evaluated whether SARS-CoV-2 could infect both tissues and primary cells in the eye.

How: The donor cells were infected with SARS-CoV-2 and then analyzed through RNA sequencing. The sequences were then mapped   to the human genome and compared to non-infected control cells from adult tissues. The expression of the exposed cell where then evaluated. Contracting the virus through the eye could also be corroborated using a small animal model in independent work done Ramus Møller in the tenOever lab.

Study Conclusions: SARS-CoV-2 can infect surface cells of the eye. The exposed cells revealed the presence of infection-associated proteins including ACE2, the virus receptor, and TMPRSS2, an enzyme which allows viral entry. IFNβ, a protein that has antiviral and antibacterial properties, was also found to be suppressed from the exposure to the virus. Additionally, the researchers found that ocular surface cells, particularly the limbus, were susceptible to infection, while the central cornea was less vulnerable.

Said Mount Sinai's Dr. Timothy Blenkinsop of the research: We hope this new data results in additional measures to protect the eyes. We also intend to use these models to test approaches to prevent ocular infections.

Said Mount Sinai's Dr. Benjamin tenOever of the research: This work was the result of a very productive collaboration from two very different scientific programs. More importantly, the data generated not only adds to our understanding concerning the biology of SARS-CoV-2, but the results also highlight the importance of washing hands, as rubbing one’s eyes should now be viewed as an entry point for infection.

###

View the full paper here. To schedule an interview with Dr. Blenkinsop or Dr. tenOever, please contact the Mount Sinai Press Office at [email protected] or at 347-346-3390.

SEE ORIGINAL STUDY



Filters close

Showing results

110 of 5845
Released: 17-Jun-2021 4:15 PM EDT
UNC Researchers Lead Study of Diabetes Treatment of COVID-19 Patients
University of North Carolina School of Medicine

Diabetes is one of the comorbidities most strongly associated with severe COVID-19 in the US, and data from early in the pandemic suggested individuals with type 2 diabetes faced twice the risk of death from COVID-19 and a greater risk of requiring hospitalization and intensive care. A new study shows best treatment options.

Released: 17-Jun-2021 4:10 PM EDT
Vaccination, Previous Infection, Protect Against COVID-19 gamma/P.1 Variant in Animal Model
University of Wisconsin-Madison

In a new study using variant virus recovered from one of the original travelers, researchers in the U.S. and Japan have found that vaccination with an mRNA vaccine induces antibody responses that would protect humans from infection with the gamma/P.1 variant.

Newswise:Video Embedded virtual-event-for-june-17-11am-edt-covid-19-vaccines-and-male-fertility
VIDEO
Released: 17-Jun-2021 3:20 PM EDT
VIDEO AVAILABLE: Vaccines and Male Fertility Event for June 17, 2021
Newswise

This upcoming JAMA-published study examined whether the COVID-19 vaccine impacts male fertility.

Released: 17-Jun-2021 1:30 PM EDT
Hackensack Meridian Doctors, Student Help Establish Way to Prioritize Surgeries During COVID-19 lockdown
Hackensack Meridian Health

The MeNTS method of prioritizing surgeries during the height of pandemic, developed by University of Chicago, helped procedures continue during time of need

Released: 17-Jun-2021 12:55 PM EDT
‘Nanodecoy’ Therapy Binds and Neutralizes SARS-CoV-2 Virus
North Carolina State University

Nanodecoys made from human lung spheroid cells (LSCs) can bind to and neutralize SARS-CoV-2, promoting viral clearance and reducing lung injury in a macaque model of COVID-19.

access_time Embargo lifts in 2 days
Embargo will expire: 21-Jun-2021 11:00 AM EDT Released to reporters: 17-Jun-2021 12:10 PM EDT

A reporter's PressPass is required to access this story until the embargo expires on 21-Jun-2021 11:00 AM EDT The Newswise PressPass gives verified journalists access to embargoed stories. Please log in to complete a presspass application. If you have not yet registered, please Register. When you fill out the registration form, please identify yourself as a reporter in order to advance to the presspass application form.

Newswise: Blood Cancer Patients with COVID-19 Fare Better with Convalescent Plasma
Released: 17-Jun-2021 11:55 AM EDT
Blood Cancer Patients with COVID-19 Fare Better with Convalescent Plasma
Washington University in St. Louis

A large, retrospective, multicenter study involving Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis indicates that convalescent plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients can dramatically improve likelihood of survival among blood cancer patients hospitalized with the virus. The therapy involves transfusing plasma — the pale yellow liquid in blood that is rich in antibodies — from people who have recovered from COVID-19 into patients who have leukemia, lymphoma or other blood cancers and are hospitalized with the viral infection.

Released: 17-Jun-2021 11:05 AM EDT
Stress during pandemic linked to poor sleep
Washington State University

Many people likely lost sleep over COVID-19. A study of twins led by Washington State University researchers found that stress, anxiety and depression during the first few weeks of the pandemic were associated with less and lower quality sleep.

Newswise:Video Embedded university-of-miami-miller-school-study-shows-covid-19-mrna-vaccines-do-not-impact-male-fertility
VIDEO
Released: 17-Jun-2021 11:00 AM EDT
University of Miami Miller School Study Shows COVID-19 mRNA Vaccines Do Not Impact Male Fertility
University of Miami Health System, Miller School of Medicine

The Pfizer and Moderna mRNA COVID-19 vaccines is safe for male reproduction, according to a new study by University of Miami Miller School of Medicine researchers published in JAMA , the most widely circulated general medical journal in the world.

15-Jun-2021 1:20 PM EDT
Higher COVID-19 Mortality Among Black Patients Linked to Unequal Hospital Quality
Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

If Black patients were admitted to the same hospitals that serve a majority of White patients, researchers showed their risk of death would drop by 10 percent


Showing results

110 of 5845

close
1.39858