Blue Corneal Discoloration in a Six-Month-Old Following Antiviral Treatment for COVID-19

A surprising medical situation was recently reported in Thailand. A six-month-old baby’s eyes changed from dark brown to blue after taking an antiviral treatment against Covid-19 called favipiravir. This extremely rare phenomenon has attracted the interest of experts and requires further research to determine the exact cause and possible long-term effects. This case study was presented in the journal Frontiers in Pediatrics.

Eyes Turn Blue

Eyes Turn Blue Credit: Paveewan Jiravisitkul

Read Also: Unusual Post-COVID Symptom: 33-Year-Old Man Experiences Rapid Blue Discoloration in Legs Upon Standing, Highlighting Acrocyanosis Link

In their article, the doctors report that the baby was taken to a hospital by his mother because he had developed a high fever and was coughing. After testing positive for Covid-19, he was given favipiravir tablets and a syrup containing the same molecule.

Although a 2022 study by the CEA, INSERM and Université Paris Cité cast doubt on its effectiveness against SARS-CoV-2, the drug is widely used in Thailand and other Asian countries to treat children with Covid-19. Favipiravir acts by preventing the replication of the viral genetic material, inhibiting the spread of the virus in the body. The most common side effects are diarrhea, a drop in white blood cell count and high levels of uric acid in the blood. But the little boy had a particularly rare side effect.

Read Also: New Nasal Delivery Strategy Shows Promise of Better HIV, COVID-19 Vaccines

After just 18 hours of treatment, his eyes began to show an unusual blue color. The doctors who treated the baby noticed an accumulation of blue pigments in both corneas. Five days after the treatment stopped, the strange coloration of the baby’s eyes gradually disappeared. Later, during a follow-up appointment with an ophthalmologist, no eye abnormalities were detected in the child.


Jiravisitkul, P., Thonginnetra, S., & Wongvisavavit, R. (2023). Case report: Favipiravir-induced bluish corneal discoloration in infant with COVID-19. Frontiers in Pediatrics.

Marlin, R., Desjardins, D., Contreras, V. et al. Antiviral efficacy of favipiravir against Zika and SARS-CoV-2 viruses in non-human primates. Nat Commun 13, 5108 (2022).



Want to Stay Informed?

Join the Gilmore Health News Newsletter!

Want to live your best life?

Get the Gilmore Health Weekly newsletter for health tips, wellness updates and more.

By clicking "Subscribe," I agree to the Gilmore Health and . I also agree to receive emails from Gilmore Health and I understand that I may opt out of Gilmore Health subscriptions at any time.