Experts think that autopsies of COVID-19 victims could give more insight into how the virus affects bodies.
Out of the five million Covid victims worldwide, only hundreds of autopsies were performed.
The reason is a combination of closing autopsy centers and other medical systems gradually phasing out the practice.
Modern technology has replaced autopsies as the preferred method for doctors to diagnose death.
These procedures are still useful, however, so the National Institutes of Health plans to invest more than $1Billion in research into the virus. Bloomberg reports that the NIH will also be performing more autopsies of Covid victims.
While autopsies were not done on many of those affected by Covid, experts say they might be crucial to understanding how it affects people’s bodies. Autopsies will be part of a $1 billion investment made by the NIH in order to better understand this virus (file photograph).
Experts tell Bloomberg that autopsies enable them to determine exactly what happened in the body of a deceased person.
Covid patients often die from different stages of the disease. A large number of autopsies will help doctors to create a timeline that shows how and when the virus reached the body.
Bloomberg reported that Dr Jeffery Taubenberger is the head of the section of viral pathogenesis and evolution at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIH).
“We’re trying find out what causes death in the most extreme cases of the disease. We also want to discover how it can be prevented from happening again.
“And then, what are the therapeutic implications?
Additional autopsies may give specialists a more thorough understanding of how the “long Covid” works.
It is a mysterious condition that occurs after recovering Covid patients feel the side effects of the virus for months. This has puzzled scientists because there are no explanations.
Other ways that Long Covid may strike are: some individuals lose their senses of smell and taste, while others become extremely tired and are left bedridden for many months.
An autopsy on a deceased patient would enable experts to collect evidence about how to treat Covid victims with their symptoms.
Bloomberg was told by Dr Daniel Chertow (NIH Investigator), that the post-Covid material is “very, very real.”
“If you want to think of possible ways to treat or prevent these manifestations, then you must first understand the root cause.
Autopsy clinics were often closed due to the fact that they were not essential.
These decisions were actually detrimental to the ability of the medical community to find treatments for the virus in the future.
Dt Klaus Puschel is a German scientist and runs an autopsy center in Hamburg. He told Bloomberg that he defied the local rules and kept his clinic open.
The team of 80 covid-dead patients underwent autopsies, which led to some groundbreaking findings.
The virus could spread to the heart, kidneys, liver, and brain, according to the researchers.
Also, the clinic discovered that Covid-infected patients also had deficient capillaries (small blood vessels) in the brain. These small blood vessels could have been responsible for memory recall issues and cognitive difficulties such as brain fog.
Although these discoveries were medical breakthroughs they are also alarming for experts.
What subclinical effects are there that may cause neurological issues in the brain later in life, but not yet noticeable? Chertow agreed.
“If you are going to be able to come up with ways to treat or prevent those manifestations, whether in the next group exposed or among the suffering group, then you have to first understand their drivers.
However, autopsies can be very time-consuming and costly.
It can be expensive, with the average cost being between $2,000 and $4,000.
A health system may not find it worthwhile to invest that much in a deceased person’s medical care when there are limited resources.
Bloomberg reported that doctors have begun to use MRIs, X-rays and other tools in order to determine the cause of death for some patients.
It is far easier to use the technology than autopsy and requires much less work.
An autopsy on Covid patients requires doctors to use heavy and cumbersome gear.
Because the virus is spread by scattershot method, the individual sample must be collected from over 100 places on the body.
The individual samples must then be examined individually, which adds to the complexity of the whole process.
Bloomberg was told by Dr Linda Isles (head of forensic pathology at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, Melbourne), that autopsies can be expensive.
“In real life, few people would want to spend their money on people who are dead.”