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Doctors discovered a new coronavirus symptom that’s scary but rare

Published Dec 18th, 2020 5:05PM EST
Coronavirus symptom
Image: Mauro Rodrigues/Adobe

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  • Researchers have identified what may be a new coronavirus symptom that sounds pretty scary but which is also incredibly rare.
  • Researchers discovered a rare but deadly eye condition that seems to have a link to COVID-19.
  • At this point in the coronavirus pandemic, more than 17.3 million people have been sickened from the virus in the US, which has also caused more than 312,000 deaths as of the time of this writing.

White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci promised during an online event Friday with Duke Science & Society that “we will crush” the coronavirus pandemic, thanks to recent scientific advancements. “Biomedical research and science have given us something that just a decade ago would have seemed unimaginable — to be able to have a new virus that we had never had experienced before being thrust upon us and (throwing) us into one of the most extraordinary, destructive pandemics in over 100 years,” Dr. Fauci said.

He continued by noting that just over the past few days, science has allowed us to have a vaccine from drugmakers like Pfizer that ensures “we will crush this outbreak.” It’s led to so many people suffering, “not necessarily directly related to being ill themselves, but all the secondary consequences that go with the effects of a global pandemic such as this.” And we’re continuing to learn more and more about all the different ways people are continuing to suffer from the virus — as well as the coronavirus symptoms they encounter and which keep getting discovered.

According to the online magazine Knowridge Science Report, for example, a new study born out of research conducted by a team at Hofstra University in New York has discovered a “rare, sight-stealing” infection that may be linked to COVID-19.

The details: The genesis of this study was the fact that during a two-month time span, three COVID patients in a New York health system developed keratitis. That’s an inflammation of the cornea, which in turn caused an infection of the tissue or fluid in the eyeball known as endophthalmitis. Researchers decided to investigate because this is a rare condition — especially to have three cases in such a short time span, with all of them connected to COVID patients.

The consequences here were exceedingly serious. One of three patients died from COVID. Another lost all eyesight, and the third had to have an eye removed.

It is worth repeating at this point — it’s rare for keratitis to turn into endophthalmitis. Knowridge Science Report notes an earlier study of almost 10,000 eyes wherein only 27 of those eyes (over 15 years) showed keratitis that turned into endophthalmitis. And what’s more, there’s not much else in the way of scientific research to suggest most people should start worrying about this.

However, what this does represent is one more reminder of the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic — as well as how deadly its common side effects as well as its outside, edge-case permutations can be.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.