- The coronavirus latches onto ACE-2 receptors, known as the ‘gateway’ into cells
- Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found ACE-2 in the eyes
- It means if infected droplets land on the eye, the virus can begin infiltrating
- It may also explain why some patients have suffered conjunctivitis.
Scientists have claimed the coronavirus can enter the body through the eyes after finding they contain a protein used by the infection to bind to cells.
The coronavirus – scientifically called SARS-CoV-2 – latches onto ACE-2 receptors, known as the ‘gateway’ into cells inside body.
These receptors are found in the respiratory tract and the lungs, which is where the virus first infiltrates cells, as well as other organs.
A team led by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have now found the eyes produce ACE-2, making them a target for the virus.
It means if droplets from an infected person’s sneeze or cough were to land on the surface of the eye, the virus could begin infiltrating cells there.
It may explain why some patients have suffered conjunctivitis – an inflammation of the eye which causes it to become red and infected.
Not only could the virus enter the body through the eyes, but tears may serve as a spread of infection, scientists said.