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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 68  |  Issue : 7  |  Page : 1349-1356

Potential ocular and systemic COVID-19 prophylaxis approaches for healthcare professionals

1 Department of Cornea and Refractive Surgery, Narayana Nethralaya, Bangalore, Karnataka, India
2 GROW Research Laboratory, Narayana Nethralaya Foundation, Bangalore, Karnataka, India
3 Department of Orbit, Ocular Oncology and Facial Plastic Surgery, Centre for Sight Superspeciality Eye Hospital, Hyderabad, Telangana, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Sharon D'Souza
Consultant Cornea, Ocular Surface and Refractive Department, Narayana Nethralaya, 121/c, Chord Road, Rajajinagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijo.IJO_1589_20

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The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it, innumerable challenges in healthcare, both through the direct burden of morbidity and mortality of the disease, and also by the curtailing of other essential albeit less emergency medical services to reduce the risk of community spread. Reports from around the world are showing mounting number of cases even in healthcare professionals spite of usage of adequate personal protective equipment. There are a number of factors which could account for this, be it the affinity of the virus to the respiratory and other mucosa or to patient risk factors for developing severe forms of the disease. In view of the growing need for resuming other medical services, it is essential to find newer ways to protect ourselves better, whether by systemic or topical mucosal prophylaxis with various medications or lifestyle changes promoting wellbeing and immunity. This article discusses additional prophylactic measures including drug repurposing or new indication paradigms to render protection. Certain medications such as chloroquine, trehalose, antihistaminics, and interferons used topically for various ocular conditions with reasonably good safety records are known to have anti-viral properties. Hence, can be harnessed in preventing SARS-CoV-2 attachment, entry, and/or replication in host cells. Similarly, use of hypertonic saline for nasal and oral mucosa and dietary changes are possible methods of improving our resistance. These additional prophylactic measures can be cautiously explored by healthcare professionals to protect themselves and their patients.

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