AIIMS doctors are contemplating an autopsy of a COVID-19 victim to study how long the coronavirus can survive in a course and if it can spread the infection, the Delhi hospital”s forensic chief stated.
Dr Sudhir Gupta stated that the study will also aid in ascertaining how the virus affects the organs.
He said that informed consent will be obtained from the legal heirs of the departed for it, adding that in the study. Â several departments like pathology and microbiology would be involved.
“It is going to be a first-of-its-kind exercise and thus has to be planned meticulously. It will help us understand how the virus behaves in the body and the way it affects the organs. Also, it will help us assess how long the novel coronavirus can survive in a dead body,” Dr Gupta explained.
The apex health research body ICMR stated on Tuesday that COVID-19 is a respiratory infection and mainly spread through aerosols.
Till now, as per the available scientific literature, the survival of the virus gradually diminishes with time in a corpse but there is no particular time limit to declare the body non-infective.
It stated that it is advisable to adopt precautions and non-invasive autopsy technique.
As described in ICMR guidelines, Non-invasive autopsy technique should be used, if at all needed, to avert the risk of transmitting the infection to mortuary staff, police personnel and contamination of mortuary surfaces.
“If an autopsy surgeon feels that he will not be able to conclude the cause of death or any other related issue without dissection, then he can proceed with minimal invasive/limited internal dissection.
“However, the dissection has to be performed keeping in mind that the conduction of autopsy is a high-risk procedure which is potentially as hazardous as any other procedure performed on the body of a COVID-19 patient,” the guidelines stated.
The Indian Council of Medical Research stated limited studies have been conducted on postmortem samples of patients who passed away due to COVID-19.
It stated that most of the pathological studies are in unanimity with the clinical features and clinical course of the disease in general. But the disease also causes pathological damages to organs like heart, liver, kidney, brain, blood vessels and other organs.