Real life zombies: Covid can be caught from DEAD BODIES for up to 17 days
Covid can be spread from DEAD BODIES for up to 17 days, scientists warn
- Scientists from Japan found coronavirus in the nose and lungs of human corpses
- The hamsters had traces of the virus post-mortem and transmitted it to the living hamsters.
- Evidence of infectious virus has been found in carcasses up to 17 days later.
Covid could potentially spread from dead bodies to the living like a zombie, two new studies suggest.
Scientists in Japan found traces of the coronavirus in the nostrils and lungs of human cadavers and recently deceased hamsters for up to 17 days after autopsy.
They cautioned that while the risk of transmission from dead bodies to the general public is low, mostly limited to coroners, pathologists and healthcare workers, those bereaved individuals and families should be careful.
“Infectious viruses may be transmitted via postmortem gases produced by the decomposition process or other postmortem changes in the carcass,” the authors of one of the studies wrote.
In one to study In rodents, the researchers infected a group of hamsters with the coronavirus and euthanized them 24 to 48 hours later.
Their bodies were then disinfected in an alcohol bath for 30 seconds and wrapped in wire netting to prevent them from being cannibalized by live hamsters in the same cage.
They separated the hamsters into two groups. In one cage, they put a wrapped carcass and two uninfected hamsters, and in the other cage, they put a live infected hamster and two uninfected hamsters together.
Twenty-four hours later, they found high titers, or residual antibodies to the infection, in the lungs and noses of the living hamsters.
Covid was transmitted from all live infected hamsters in both shared housing conditions, whereas dead infected hamsters maintained high virus titers in their lungs and noses 24 hours after autopsy.
A traditional Japanese burial method, in which cotton pads are used to plug the nostrils, mouth, ears and rectum of a corpse, trapping gases that naturally escape when a person dies, was also found to prevent transmission. .
The custom, called Angel care, effectively prevented transmission from a dead hamster.
In the human studyJapanese scientists collected eight nasal swabs and 11 lung samples from 11 autopsy cases with COVID in 2021 and investigated the genetic makeup of the viral strains.
A growing body of evidence shows that the coronavirus can remain in the bodies of the deceased for up to 17 days after death, and can even transmit the virus to the living.
Hamsters were sacrificed at 24 or 48 hours post infection, disinfected, and co-housed with live hamsters. High titers of virus remained in the lungs and noses of dead hamsters 24 hours after autopsy.
Can you get Covid-19 from a dead body?
Japanese scientists investigated this question and concluded that it is possible.
In one study, researchers infected a group of hamsters with the coronavirus and euthanized them 24 to 48 hours later.
They placed dead hamsters, both infected and uninfected, in the same cages as the live hamsters. Infection was found in the lungs and nose of live hamsters.
Dead infected hamsters maintained high virus titers in their lungs and noses 24 hours after autopsy.
In another study with human cadavers, scientists collected eight nasal swabs and 11 lung samples from 11 autopsy Covid cases.
The virus was present in six of the 11 cases up to 13 days after death.
Their results showed that the virus was present in six of the 11 cases. Four of those 11 cases were found through nasal swabs, while nine of 19 lung samples showed evidence of the virus up to 13 days after death.
‘Therefore, appropriate infection control measures should be taken when handling carcasses,’ they concluded.
Japan’s Health Ministry decided this week to roll back pandemic-era funeral restrictions that urged bereaved family members who were close contacts of the deceased to refrain from touching or viewing the bodies, or even attending their funerals, depriving to many families the opportunity for a last goodbye.
The ministry said the guidelines, which were set in July 2020, will be lifted by the end of the year.
This isn’t the first time scientists have discovered that dead bodies can hold traces of infectious diseases and potentially spread them to others.
A 2021 study found that the infectious virus was still present in one of the COVID-19 carcasses 17 days after autopsy, despite visible signs of decomposition.
Meanwhile, a 2020 study from Thailand reported that a person working on a cadaver who died with Covid-19 in a forensic medical unit became infected soon after.