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Coronavirus Can Enter The Body Through The Eyes, Scientists Say

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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, Daily Mail of UK has reported.

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 in the United States 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.

The team was led by Lingli Zhou of the Department of Ophthalmology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore.

They analysed 10 human post-mortem eyes from people who did not die of COVID-19 for the expression of ACE2 (angiotensin-converting enzyme 2).

ACE-2 is understood to be the entry point for the virus. Its spiky surface binds to the receptors and, from there, infects the cell and replicates.

Buhari condoles with Lagos over Justice Oluwa’s death
It’s suggested that someone with more ACE-2 receptors may be more susceptible to a large viral load – first infectious dose of a virus – entering their bloodstream.

The team also looked for TMPRSS2, an enzyme that helps viral entry following binding of the viral spike protein to ACE2.

ACE2 and TMPRSS2 must both be present in the same cell for the virus to effectively replicate.

All eye specimens expressed ACE-2 in the tissue that lines the inside of the eyelids, called conjunctiva, the clear outer layer of the eye, called the cornea, and the limbus, which is the border between the cornea and the white of the eye.

TMPRSS2 was also expressed, according to the pre-print paper on MedRxiv yet to be reviewed by other scientists.

Dr Zhou and colleagues wrote: “Together, these results indicate that ocular surface cells including conjunctiva are susceptible to infection by SARS-CoV-2 and could therefore serve as a portal of entry as well as a reservoir for person-to-person transmission of this virus.”

The research was triggered by ‘extensive speculation’ that eye surfaces are a possible site of virus entry.

Although the virus primarily spreads through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose from an infected person lands on the insides of another person’s nose or mouth, scientists have said it’s entirely possible it could enter through the eye.

Reports have suggested that COVID-19 may cause conjunctivitis, which was a symptom in around 30 per cent of patients in one study.

The researchers explained this could be as a result of the virus travelling from the respiratory tract to the eyes – a secondary complication often linked with a virus.

But it could also be a direct result of the virus attacking the eye cells in the first place by binding to ACE-2 receptors.

Dr Zhou noted that viral particles can be found in tears that ‘could result in transmission to other individuals’.

“Infection of ocular surface cells could lead to the eye as being an important carrier, with ocular virus shedding constituting a significant mechanism for infection of other individuals,” they wrote.

“This highlights the importance of safety practices including face masks and ocular contact precautions in preventing the spread of COVID-19 disease.”

It was not specified if the general population would benefit at all from eye protection, or if the academics meant health workers specifically.

Medics on the pandemic frontline are supposed to wear goggles or face visors in order to protect their eyes.

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Minister Affirms Nigeria Air Will Take Off April 2022

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Nigeria’s national carrier, Nigeria Air, will take off by April 2022, Hadi Sirika, minister of aviation, said on Wednesday.

The minister announced the take-off date while briefing state house correspondents after the federal executive council (FEC) meeting at the presidential villa, Abuja.

He said the national carrier will be run by a company in which the Nigerian government will hold a five percent stake while Nigerian entrepreneurs will hold 46 percent.

He said the remaining 49 percent will be reserved for yet to be assigned strategic equity partners, including foreign investors.

Sirika said the national carrier, when operational, will create about 70,000 jobs for Nigerians.

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#EndSARS: Panel Affirmed Nine Killed, Four Missing, 24 Injured At Lekki Toll Gate

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No fewer than nine #EndSARS protesters were killed at the Lekki tollgate on October 20, 2020.

This was contained in the report of the reports submitted by the Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Restitution for victims of SARS-related abuses and other matters obtained by our correspondent on Monday.

According to the report, nine protesters were confirmed dead while four were presumed dead.

The report listed 48 names as those who were casualties of the Lekki incident of October 20, 2020.

Among the 48 casualties listed, 24 sustained gunshot injuries, while 15 others were assaulted by soldiers and police.

The panel also noted that 96 other corpses were presented by a Forensic Pathologist of Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Professor John Obafunwa.

According to the 309-page report, the protesters were killed by suspected policemen and soldiers.

Part of the report read, ” The evidence before the panel shows that after the Nigerian Army left, Nigeria Police Force, followed up with the killing of the protesters, shooting directly at fleeing
protesters into the shanties and the Lagoon at the Lekki Phase 1 Foreshore, close to the Lekki Toll Gate, floating corpse and one shot close to Serah Ibrahim.

“Several unidentified bodies were removed by security agencies and LASEHMU (Lagos State Environmental Health Monitoring Unit) and deposited at various hospital mortuaries in Lagos State.

“Three trucks with brushes underneath were brought to the Lekki Toll Gate in the morning of October 21st October, 2020 to clean up the scene of bloodstains and other evidence.

“The testimony and report of Professor John Obafunwa, a Forensic Pathologist of Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, showed that three corpses were deposited at the Mainland Hospital, Yaba Hospital, all from the Lekki Toll Gate and the autopsy conducted thereon revealed death from bleeding caused by penetrating objects or rifled weapon.

“The Panel finds that the fact of lack of identity of some of the other 96 corpses on the list supplied by Professor Obafunwa would not obliterate the fact that some of them could have come from the Lekki Toll Gate Incident of October 20, 2020, or that some other unidentified corpses may have been removed by their families or the military, as claimed by the EndSARS protesters, far and beyond the list tendered by Professor Obafunwa.”

The panel was inaugurated on October 19, 2020, to look into complaints of citizens against human rights abuses by the police.

Following the incident at the Lekki Toll Gate on October 20, 2020, the terms of reference of the Panel were expanded to cover that incident.

The panel sat for over one year, listening to testimonies of petitioners, witnesses, experts, and lawyers.

The panel treated 235 petitions and awarded N410 million to 70 victims.

The PUNCH

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Lagos #EndSARS Panel Submits Report

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The Lagos judicial panel on police brutality submitted its report on Monday to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, at the government house, Ikeja, Lagos.

The panel submitted two sets of reports — a consolidated report on police brutality cases and the Lekki incident investigation.

On October 19, 2020, as part of recommendations put forward during the #EndSARS protests, the Lagos government inaugurated the judicial panel to investigate petitions on police brutality in the state.

Speaking after receiving the report, Sanwo-Olu said it is the beginning of the “difficult process of proper reconciliation and restitution”.

The governor commended members of the panel for the work done, adding that posterity will be kind to them.

He said the report will be submitted to the national economic council (NEC), adding that “proper response” will be accorded to the recommendations.

Sanwo-Olu also constituted a four-member committee headed by Moyosore Onigbanjo, the state’s attorney-general, to come up with a white paper on the panel’s recommendations within the next two weeks.

“I’m believing and trusting that this process will help us start the very difficult process of proper reconciliation, restitution, bringing together of anyone that must have been one form or the other being affected,” he said.

“By either the police or any of our citizens that must have been wronged by one form or the other, the process of healing, I imagine, with the submission of this panel report, will start that process.”

The sitting was initially meant to last for six months but the period of proceedings stretched into one year.

The panel concluded its sitting on October 18, 2021, and said its findings and recommendations would be submitted to the state government.

Doris Okuwobi, chairperson of the panel, had said 186 of the 252 petitions submitted were deliberated upon.

According to an infographic released by the panel, the sum of N409.7 million was awarded to 70 petitioners.

However, the decision of the panel not to disclose its report on the Lekki shooting incident did not go down well with many Nigerians, including lawyers representing #EndSARS protesters.

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