Doctors at AIIMS intend to research how long coronavirus can live in dead bodies

Doctors at AIIMS intend to research how long coronavirus can live in dead bodies

AIIMS doctors are considering a COVID-19 victim's autopsy to determine how long the coronavirus can live in a dead body and whether it can spread the infection, forensic chief of the Delhi hospital said on May 21, 2020.

An informed consent will be obtained for it from the deceased's legal heirs, Dr Sudhir Gupta said adding that the study would involve many more departments, such as pathology and microbiology.

It will be a first-of-a-kind project, and must therefore be carefully planned. It will help us understand how the virus is functioning in the body and how it is affecting the organs. It will also help us to determine how long the novel coronavirus will live in a dead body, "explained Dr Gupta.

The apex health research body ICMR said on Tuesday, May 19, 2020, COVID-19 is a respiratory infection and primarily transmitted by aerosols. As per the scientific literature available so far, virus survival slowly decreases with time in a dead body but there is no clear time limit to declare the body non-infective. Accordingly, precautions and non-invasive autopsy techniques should be adopted.

Non-invasive autopsy technique as defined in the ICMR guidelines should be used, if required, to prevent the risk of spreading the infection to mortuary workers, police and mortuary surface contamination. "If the autopsy surgeon feels that he will not be able to determine without dissection the cause of death or any other related problem, then he may proceed with minimally invasive / limited integral surface contamination.

The dissection should be carried out, however, keeping in mind that autopsy performance is a high-risk operation that is potentially as risky as any other procedure performed on a COVID-19 patient's body, "the guidelines said.

Few experiments have been carried out on postmortem samples of patients who died as a result of COVID-19, according to The Indian Council of Medical Research.

Most pathological findings are in line with the general clinical features and the disease 's clinical route. However, the disorder also causes pathological harm to organs such as heart , liver , kidney, brain, blood vessels and other organs.