Doctors have found a little boy’s eyes turned blue after receiving Covid treatment.
The six-month-old was given the antiviral drug favipiravir in Bangkok, Thailand after contracting the coronavirus.
Just 18 hours later, his mother noticed that his normally brown eyes glowed blue in the sunlight.
After three days, his doctor stopped the treatment, and five days later, his eyes returned to their normal color.
Doctors were baffled by the change in eye color but suspected it could be caused by fluorescent chemicals released as the drug breaks down in the body.
dr Chulabhorn Hospital’s Paveewan Jiravisitkul said, “The cause could be the drug, its metabolites, or additional tablet ingredients such as titanium dioxide and yellow iron oxide.”
Favipiravir is an antiviral drug commonly used to treat influenza and other viruses such as Ebola.
It is approved to treat Covid in China, Japan and Thailand, where it is the main antiviral drug for children.
The drug is currently being tested in the UK and is not recommended by the NHS for Covid, although it may be prescribed to some patients as part of a compassionate patient use practice.
Scientists have previously found that it causes a change in eye color. For example, in 2021, a 20-year-old Indian man’s eyes temporarily turned from brown to blue.
The latest case was published in Frontiers in pediatrics.
Independent experts said the eye color change was surprising and more research is needed to find out what caused it.
dr Vik Sharma from the LondonOC Clinic said live science: “Usually, the color of the eye is determined by the iris, not the cornea, and is determined by the amount of pigment present in the iris from birth.”
“Further work is needed to determine the exact cause of the eye discoloration and any long-term consequences.”