The novel coronavirus remains active inside the body for up to a week or more after death, researchers at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf in Germany found.
The researchers tested 11 bodies of people who died from the coronavirus at their hospital and swabbed their noses regularly from 12 hours after death up to seven days later, CNN reported.
“We consistently detected SARS-CoV-2 RNA at constant levels at all time points analyzed,” the researchers wrote in the Emerging Infectious Diseases journal. “We demonstrated maintained infectivity of SARS-CoV-2 in tissues of deceased patients. Taken together, our data indicate potentially high infectivity of human corpses, requiring hazard assessments in professional fields concerning and careful and conscious handling.”
As of Thursday, roughly 1.7 million people worldwide have died from the coronavirus, including 25,000 in Germany, according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker. The U.S. has the world’s highest death toll with approximately 310,000.