Research shows coronavirus may transmit, manifest, in different ways

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Over the past few weeks, several studies have been released eluding to different ways the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) may transmit and manifest, from ocular abnormalities to anosmia to gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms.

A brief report published in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology found that COVID-19 may transmit through tears. The small study included 38 COVID-19 patients, 12 of which were found to have abnormalities involving the eye, such as conjunctivitis, chemosis, or epiphora. Additionally, two patients tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in both conjunctival and nasopharyngeal swabs.

Next, a paper published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases discussed data showing some COVID-19 patients are reporting anosmia or loss of smell. The survey included 59 patients and found 20 reported at least one taste or olfactory disorder, while 11 patients reported both. Further, 12 patients said the symptoms manifested prior to hospital admission, eight patients said the symptoms manifested during the hospital stay.

Finally, a study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology found certain subgroups of COVID-19 patients may exhibit digestive and GI symptoms, such as diarrhea, as their only symptom. Compared to patients with only respiratory symptoms, those with digestive symptoms were more likely to test positive for COVID-19 in their stool. The researchers concluded practitioners who encounter patients with only GI symptoms should consider testing for COVID-19 even if fever or respiratory symptoms are not present.

The research landscape is changing rapidly amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Practitioners are encouraged to stay on top of new developments that may help diagnose and treat patients.

Editor’s note: Click here for more information and ongoing COVID-19 updates for integrative healthcare professionals.