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AIIMS chief warns Covid patients against repeat CT scans, says they raise cancer risk

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New Delhi, May 3

AIIMS New Delhi Director Randeep Guleria on Monday cautioned mild Covid patients against going for repeat CT scans of the chest saying these raise the risk of cancer and are needless in mild disease conditions.

“There is no need for CT scans in mild Covid patients. Patches on lungs will come even if the disease is mild. Research shows that in 30-40 per cent of asymptomatic Covid patients also, patches on lungs appear but get resolved naturally. A CT scan equals 300-400 chest X-rays. The International Atomic Energy Commission has shown how CT scans in younger age lead to greater cancer risk in later life. We know of mild Covid patients repeating CT scans every three days. You are only exposing yourselves to harmful radiation,” Guleria said also advising people against needless blood bio marker tests unless medically advised.

He said sometimes even a minor wound will show high levels of markers which is due to normal body response of inflammation.

“Steroids are needed only in moderate disease after five days of illness and not before that. We have seen people who took steroids early in the disease enabling viral replication and severe infection. Timing of medicines is the key to treatment,” said AIIMS chief noting that main therapy for Covid is oxygen, steroids and anti-coagulants taken at the right time and experimental therapies like Remdesivir, plasma and Tocilizumab are used in extreme cases because they’re not proven to reduce death rate.

Guleria said although scientists are debating whether to go with only booster dose of vaccine for Covid recovered patients, taking the infection itself as the primary response and therefore equal to the first dose, there’s not enough evidence to decide fully on this. “Current guidance is for recovered persons to take both doses. A Covid positive person should defer vaccination at least for 14 days after symptoms are resolved,” he said.

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