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VOLUME 28 , ISSUE 6 ( June, 2024 ) > List of Articles


RT-PCR Result of SARS-CoV-2 Viral RNA in Cadavers and Viral Transmission Risk to Handlers

Bandita Panda, Nipa Singh, Gyanraj Singh, A Raj K Patro, Ambika P Mohanty, Pradeep K Patnaik, Ramnath Misra

Keywords : Cadaver, Pandemic, RT-PCR, SARS-CoV-2, Transmission risk

Citation Information : Panda B, Singh N, Singh G, Patro AR, Mohanty AP, Patnaik PK, Misra R. RT-PCR Result of SARS-CoV-2 Viral RNA in Cadavers and Viral Transmission Risk to Handlers. Indian J Crit Care Med 2024; 28 (6):614-616.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10071-24730

License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Published Online: 31-05-2024

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2024; The Author(s).


During the onset of the pandemic, a common research question was asked by the hospital staff, and family members who were handling COVID-19-infected cadavers, “does COVID-19-positive dead body harbor SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA?” Several research findings were reported but due to the lack of proper research findings, the question remained unanswered. The present study was planned to observe the virus transmission risk from cadavers to the handlers. A pilot study was conducted on 54 cadavers who died in COVID-ICU (SARS-CoV-2-positive diagnosed by RT-PCR) during 2021–2022. Skin swab sample from 54 dead bodies and 54 glove samples of handlers were taken within 1 hour of death for the RT-PCR test. Viability results from RT-PCR show that the infection risk was 50% in cadavers, whereas the transmission risk to handlers while handling was 7%, which is minimal. The SARS-CoV-2 viability was high in cases of those died after a long time of infection. Based on the RT-PCR result and data analysis the interpretation of the study was that the SARS-CoV-2 transmission risk from dead bodies to the handlers is minimal but the SARS-CoV-2 viability persists in the cadavers. This fact is helpful for the people who will conduct funeral activities, autopsy staff, and hospital staff handling dead bodies.

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