HomeDo people die from COVID-19 or with it? A study raises many...

Do people die from COVID-19 or with it? A study raises many questions

Published on

Dead body tests positive for COVID-19 after six weeks, forty-one days, to be exact.

A 41-year-old Ukrainian man and his companion went swimming in the water in September in Abruzzo province, Italy. After 16 hours, he was declared dead because of drowning.

A tragic tale, but hardly a medical mystery, except for the fact that his body tested positive for the virus no fewer than 28 times in the nearly six weeks following his death. According to the researchers engaged in this case, this is a critical finding for pathologists.

This is even more strange because the man was “completely asymptomatic” before his death, which means that he most likely had a low viral load when he died.

This study highlights the need of testing in all post-mortem cases, not just deaths, demonstrating that pathologists should screen for virus particles “long after the moment of death, even if low initial viral load has been assessed,” according to the report.

Although the individual was pronounced dead from drowning, Italian standards mandated a corona test to be administered irrespective of whether he was probed and autopsied. The body was transported to the local morgue as is customary, but due to a delay in getting burial permissions, the body remained there for longer than anticipated. To be precise, forty-one days.

“Twenty-eight pharyngeal surfaces were performed on the body,” says the case report, and “always by the same team, properly prepared and with standard procedures according to international guidelines and established protocols.”

All of the tests came back positive. Just in case, the crew double-checked each of them with a different set of reagents (reactive chemical agents).

Not only were the virus particles detectable for over six weeks after death, but they were also the only particles that could be identified until the end of the test period. In fact, after 41 days, these assays were no longer able to extract human RNA. The viral tests were remained positive, but the human cells had become unidentifiable.

The case study has real-world consequences for how corpses are handled during a pandemic.

“There is a lack of data on the presence of the virus on corpses and the risk of infection from corpses. This is a problem because “performing a post-mortem autopsy puts different groups of workers (pathologists, technicians and so on)  in contact with a possible source of biological risk, with consequences not only from a health point of view but also medically,” it was written.

This isn’t the first time the virus has been found in the corpse of a deceased person. Researchers from the United Kingdom conducted an autopsy on the body of a 50-year-old man who died with COVID-19 about a year and a half ago. The virus was discovered in his lungs 27 days after he died. This is despite the fact that swabs of his nose and throat performed immediately after his death came back negative.

And as for the Ukrainian man, his burial permission finally arrived, which, along with what the authors refer to as “the state of decay of the body,” led to the study’s conclusion.

Source: 10.1186/s13256-022-03297-8

Image Credit: Getty

You were reading: Do people die from COVID-19 or with it? A study raises many questions

Latest articles

Does This Mean We Stopped Being Animal and Started Being Human Due to ‘Copy Paste’ Errors?

A Surprise Finding About Ancestral Genes In Animals Could Make You Rethink The Roles...

The One Lifestyle Choice That Could Reduce Your Heart Disease Risk By More Than 22%

New Research Reveals How To Reduce Stress-related Brain Activity And Improve Heart Health Recent studies...

Aging: This Is What Happens Inside Your Body Right After Exercise

The concept of reversing aging, once relegated to the realm of science fiction, has...

Immune-Boosting Drink that Mimics Fasting to Reduce Fat – Scientists ‘Were Surprised’ By New Findings

It triggers a 'fasting-like' state In a recent study, scientists discovered that the microbes found in...

More like this

Does This Mean We Stopped Being Animal and Started Being Human Due to ‘Copy Paste’ Errors?

A Surprise Finding About Ancestral Genes In Animals Could Make You Rethink The Roles...

The One Lifestyle Choice That Could Reduce Your Heart Disease Risk By More Than 22%

New Research Reveals How To Reduce Stress-related Brain Activity And Improve Heart Health Recent studies...

Aging: This Is What Happens Inside Your Body Right After Exercise

The concept of reversing aging, once relegated to the realm of science fiction, has...