Povidone-Iodine Attenuates Viral Replication in Ocular Cells: Implications for Ocular Transmission of RNA Viruses
Several RNA viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, can infect or use the eye as an entry portal to cause ocular or systemic diseases. Povidone-Iodine (PVP-I) is routinely used during ocular surgeries and eye banking as a cost-effective disinfectant due to its broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity, including against viruses. However, whether PVP-I can exert antiviral activities in virus-infected cells remains elusive. In this study, using Zika (ZIKV) and Chikungunya (CHIKV) virus infection of human
... al and retinal pigment epithelial cells, we report antiviral mechanisms of PVP-I. Our data showed that PVP-I, even at the lowest concentration (0.01%), drastically reduced viral replication in corneal and retinal cells without causing cellular toxicity. Antiviral effects of PVP-I against ZIKV and CHIKV were mediated by direct viral inactivation, thus attenuating the ability of the virus to infect host cells. Moreover, one-minute PVP-I exposure of infected ocular cells drastically reduced viral replication and the production of infectious progeny virions. Furthermore, viral-induced (CHIKV) expression of inflammatory genes (TNF-α, IL-6, IL-8, and IL1β) were markedly reduced in PVP-I treated corneal epithelial cells. Together, our results demonstrate potent antiviral effects of PVP-I against ZIKV and CHIKV infection of ocular cells. Thus, a low dose of PVP-I can be used during tissue harvesting for corneal transplants to prevent potential transmission of RNA viruses via infected cells.