A stabilized ozone-based ophthalmic gel could act as a barrier against the entry of the Sars-CoV-2 virus through the eyes, functioning a bit like an eye ‘mask’, to be worn alongside the classic surgical or Ffp2 covering. nose and mouth. This is what emerges from a study published in ‘Traslational Vision Science & Technology’, signed by researchers from the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart of Rome and the University of Ferrara.
“Ozone ozone gels – explains Stanislao Rizzo, professor of Ophthalmology at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart campus in Rome, and director of the Ophthalmology complex operating unit of the Gemelli Polyclinic – are already used to soothe the symptoms associated with ocular pathologies. inflammatory type, including infectious origin. Our study suggests that they may also have a barrier effect against the entry of the virus through the eyes or the nasolacrimal system. However, this is an in vitro study, the results of which must be confirmed by studies on animal models and in humans “.
SO THE VIRUS ENTERS THE EYES – The Sars-CoV-2 virus can also penetrate the body through the eyes, as a member of the American National Expert Panel on Pneumonia, sent to Wuhan for an inspection, discovered at his expense: the man, who was not wearing protective gear for the eyes, he first developed conjunctivitis, then the classic Covid-19 pneumonia. Other studies have shown that the virus can remain in the eye even a few weeks after the acute phase of the disease.
In short, the eyes are a target organ of Covid, especially in the presence of small damage, such as those that occur in dry eye syndrome. In patients with Covid, it is mainly the ‘goblet’ mucous cells that are affected, while those of the cornea and conjunctival cells, perhaps because they are protected by the tear film that renews every 5 minutes, seem more protected from infection, unless there you are in a condition such as dry eye syndrome.
This observation has led scholars to think that the tear film can also act as a protective barrier against the virus. But in reality it is a double-edged sword, because – explain the researchers in a note – if the virus manages to penetrate the layer of tears, their drainage determines its arrival in the nasolacrimal system, from where the SARS -CoV-2 can easily penetrate the body, through its preferred access route, the nose.
“From these observations – explains Rizzo – the idea was born of enhancing the barrier effect of tears against Sars-CoV-2, using a special ozone-based eye drops”. Ozone has long been used in medicine to disinfect and treat infectious diseases, given its ability to inactivate bacteria, viruses, fungi, yeasts and even protozoa. Its antiviral activity in particular is expressed by damaging the viral capsid and altering viral replication through peroxidation.
The recently published study evaluated the in vitro effect of an ozonated oil-based liposomal ophthalmic gel on human corneal epithelial cells infected with SARS-CoV-2. “The aim of the study – explains Rizzo – was to evaluate whether this ophthalmic gel was able to prevent Covid infection in the superficial tissues of the eye and to evaluate whether, in patients with dry eye syndrome, it could help restore the ‘integrity of the eye surface, repairing and regenerating conjunctival microvilli “. Both objectives were achieved because in this study the ozone-based eye gel proved to be able to inhibit viral replication and the entry of the virus into the cells of the eye surface (corneal and conjunctival). Ozone eye gel has also been shown to restore cell regeneration and control inflammation in dry eye syndrome.
“Waiting for a vaccine that can also block the spread of the virus – concludes Rizzo – there are still few measures that can be implemented to reduce the risk of infection (mask, social distancing, wash hands often). the results of this research were also confirmed by studies on animal models and in humans, it would therefore be conceivable to propose the topical administration of ozone ozone gels to prevent the entry of Sars-CoV-2 through the ocular surface “.