Transmission of Covid through the dead unlikely, finds AIIMS study

Fear of transmission of Covid-19 from the dead has posed a problem for a lot of who tried to carry out the final rites of their relations who died from Covid. A current study by All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) may mitigate the problem because it discovered that transmission of the an infection through the dead is extremely unlikely.

Coronavirus would not stay lively in nasal and oral cavities 12 to 24 hours after the dying of an contaminated particular person because of this of which the threat of transmission from the deceased is extremely unlikely, AIIMS Forensic Chief Dr Sudhir Gupta mentioned.

A pilot study was carried out over the final yr in the Department of Forensic Medicine at AIIMS on Covid-19 optimistic medico-legal instances which had been subjected to a autopsy.

“Around 100 bodies were re-tested for coronavirus infection in an interval of 12 to 24 hours after death and the result was negative. The virus does not remain active at all in nasal and oral cavities 24 hours after death,” Dr Gupta informed PTI.

“The risk of transmission of coronavirus 12 to 24 hours after the death of an infected person is highly unlikely,” he mentioned.

Reports of locals stopping households of Covid victims from performing final rites in the worry of transmission emerged a number of instances throughout the pandemic. Since the starting of the pandemic, specialists have repeatedly mentioned transmission of the an infection is unlikely from the dead.

Last yr in March, a senior Health Ministry official said there is “unlikely to be an increased risk of infection from a dead body” of a coronavirus affected person to well being staff or relations who comply with commonplace precautions.

Listing out the pointers to be adopted at the crematorium or burial floor, the Health Ministry had mentioned the crematorium and burial floor workers must be sensitised that novel coronavirus doesn’t pose an extra threat and that they need to observe commonplace precautions of hand hygiene, use of masks and gloves.


AIIMS Forensic Chief Dr Sudhir Gupta mentioned for security functions the nasal and oral cavities must be plugged to stop leakage of physique fluids or different orifices or punctures ensuing from elimination of catheter, drains, tubes must be disinfected.

Also as a precautionary measure, folks dealing with such our bodies ought to put on protecting gear equivalent to masks, gloves and PPE kits.

“Collection of bones and ashes is completely safe as there is no risk of transmission of infection from the mortal remains,” Gupta mentioned.

“The study was conducted in the interest of preserving the dignity of the dead,” he said.

The ICMR in its ‘commonplace pointers for medico-legal post-mortem in Covid-19 deaths’ issued in May, 2020, suggested that invasive methods shouldn’t be adopted for forensic post-mortem in Covid-19 deaths as mortuary workers are uncovered to doubtlessly harmful well being dangers attributable to organ fluids and secretions even after taking the highest precautions.

The waiving of a autopsy will forestall the unfold of an infection to medical doctors, mortuary workers, police individuals and all the folks concerned in the chain of dead physique disposal.

Non-invasive post-mortem methods, as described in pointers, must be used, if in any respect required, to stop the threat of spreading the an infection to mortuary workers, police personnel and contamination of mortuary surfaces, the pointers said.

“If the autopsy surgeon feels that he will not be able to conclude cause of death or any other related issue without dissection, then he can proceed with minimal invasive/limited internal dissection.

“However, the dissection needs to be carried out holding in thoughts that the conduction of post-mortem is a high-risk process which is doubtlessly as hazardous as another process carried out on the physique of a Covid-19 affected person,” the pointers mentioned, itemizing the precautions to be adopted whereas conducting an post-mortem by adopting correct an infection management measures.

READ: Robinhood Army of young Muslims help in last rites of Hindu Covid victim in Assam

According to the process of conducting forensic post-mortem, “…together with exterior examination, a number of pictures and verbal post-mortem (as depicted by WHO)…the autopsy must be carried out strictly avoiding any invasive surgical procedures and avoiding splashing of physique fluids contact for staffs, physique handlers and medical doctors conducting autopsy.”

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