Experts from Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences on Wednesday said that the coronavirus can affect not only the lungs but almost all parts of the body, reported PTI. “What started off as a viral pneumonia is now a multi-systemic disease,” said one of the doctors. The experts, however, added that more evidence was needed to be definitive.

During the weekly “National Clinical Grand Rounds”, the AIIMS experts, including director Dr Randeep Guleria and neurology department head Dr MV Padma Srivastava, discussed the various possible “extra-pulmonary manifestation” of Covid-19. They added that the initial symptoms may be totally unrelated to chest complaints.

“From what we thought of as a viral pneumonia has a lot of other manifestations which are beyond the lungs,” said Dr Guleria. “As we have known more and more about Covid-19, we have realised it causes many extrapulmonary manifestations. This is basically of the fact that this virus enters into cell through ACE2 receptors which although are present abundantly in upper airways and lungs, they are also present in many organs and thus other organs are also affected. We have seen many patients who presented with features which are not been predominantly pulmonary but extrapulmonary manifestations.”

They said mild, moderate and severe cases should be re-classified to understand the involvement of other organs. These weekly discussions are held in collaboration with NITI Aayog. The experts cited the instances of a number of cases where the patients were labelled as asymptomatic or having a mild infection but later showed serious life-threatening extra-pulmonary manifestations like stroke and heart blocks.

Dr Srivastava dwelt on the neurological manifestations linked to Covid-19. “In some patients, brain is involved and it may lead to clotting, resulting in stroke or can cause infection and lead to encephalitis or other complications which have nothing to do with lungs,” he said.

The experts’ opinion came on a day when India registered the highest single-day rise of over 75,000 new cases. With this, the country’s tally is now 33.10 lakh. More than 60,000 people have died so far.

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