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VOLUME 4 , ISSUE 1 ( January-June, 2020 ) > List of Articles


Ethical Challenges of Autopsy, Embalming, and Body Donation in the Context of Corona Virus Disease-19 Pandemic

Anupama Mahajan, Rajeev Kumar Chaudhary, Baljit Singh Khurana

Citation Information : Mahajan A, Chaudhary RK, Khurana BS. Ethical Challenges of Autopsy, Embalming, and Body Donation in the Context of Corona Virus Disease-19 Pandemic. Curr Trends Diagn Treat 2020; 4 (1):46-50.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10055-0092

License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Published Online: 16-06-2020

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2020; The Author(s).


Corona virus disease-19 (COVID-19) is an acute respiratory illness caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) that emerged in the month of December 2019 in Wuhan, Hubei province, China and has continued to spread to include over 100 countries. Most frequently, transmission is from symptomatic individuals with COVID-19 via respiratory droplets produced during sneezing and coughing, from infected fomites, and in some cases, stools have tested positive for COVID-19 RNA. The complete clinical picture of COVID-19 is not fully known. Illnesses have ranged from very mild (loss of taste or smell) to severe pneumonia resulting in death. Eighty percent of deaths were among adults >65 years and older, with severe outcomes in people 85 years and older. There is minimum risk of COVID infection from a dead body to health workers who follow standard precautions while handling the body. Embalming of COVID-19-infected dead body should not be allowed. In the absence of definitive treatment for COVID-19, many anatomists have questions about the impact of coronavirus pandemic on body donation. In the present scenario, anatomists need not to accept the probable/suspected/confirmed COVID-19-infected dead bodies through voluntary donation. Major challenges in the context of COVID-19 include a lack of safe, effective vaccine, and uncertainty regarding the pathogenesis, immunity, and transmission of the disease. Except symptom abolition supportive treatment, currently there is no specific drug to treat the coronavirus, although some specific antiviral drugs (remdesivir) are under the clinical trials. Nowadays, strategies are focused on accelerating the path to produce an effective and safe vaccine to curtail the morbidity and mortality associated with pandemic of SARS-CoV-2.

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