Coronavirus Remains Active Even 18 Hours After Death, Reveals Autopsy Of COVID-19 Patient

The autopsy was conducted by forensic expert Dinesh Rao who heads the Department of Forensic Medicine at Oxford Medical College and Research Institute in Bengaluru.

Due to the coronavirus being relatively new, there are still many things that need to be discovered about the disease. The latest finding about the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus is that it remains active in some parts of the body even after 18 hours of death. This was revealed after a clinical autopsy was conducted on a victim, reportedly the first to be done in India. The 62-year-old patient in Bengaluru had died after 14 days of treatment and an autopsy did on the body revealed that the virus remains active even 18 hours after death. Reports said the clinical autopsy was done after the patient in Bengaluru died following two weeks of treatment.

The autopsy was conducted by forensic expert Dr Dinesh Rao. He heads the Department of Forensic Medicine at Oxford Medical College and Research Institute in Bengaluru.

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“I took up the autopsy to understand the disease process and its outcome, and to study if there is a need to modify the treatment protocols. Of the various swabs I took, those from the mouth, throat, and nose tested RT-PCR positive, while there was no trace of the virus on the skin of the face, neck, or internal organs like the respiratory passage and lungs. That is because the lung surface was dominated by bacterial infections,” Dr. Rao was quoted as saying by The Hindu.

“The lungs, which are normally like a soft sponge ball, were more like a leather ball. They normally weigh about 600-700 gm, but this victim’s lungs together weighed 2,180 gm and the texture was leathery. There were blood clots and the air sacs were ruptured. It was shocking to see what the virus had done to the lungs,” he said.

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Dr Rao said that more research needs to be done to understand as there’s a need for greater research to understand how coronavirus affects the human body and accordingly treatment protocols should be modified rather than following WHO guidelines alone.

He further added others did not cooperate in the autopsy process and this is why he couldn’t several other tests that he wanted to in order to understand the effects of the disease better.

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