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ICMR advises that COVID-19 patients wait a few weeks after recovery for surgery

The experts also advised against COVID-19 retesting within 102 days after recovery, due to presence of "non-viable dead-virus particles" that remain in the body for some time, which could lead to a false positive.

May 31, 2021 / 12:31 PM IST
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has advised that COVID-19 patients wait for a few weeks after recovery for non-urgent or elective surgeries. (Representational image of RAT test)

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has advised that COVID-19 patients wait for a few weeks after recovery for non-urgent or elective surgeries. (Representational image of RAT test)


The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has advised that COVID-19 patients wait for a few weeks after recovery for non-urgent or elective surgeries.

Experts from the ICMR and the national task force have made the recommendation in order to ensure faster convalescence and healing after the surgery, The Times of India reported.

According to the report, these are the waiting times for elective surgeries that have been suggested:

Four weeks for an asymptomatic patient or someone who has recovered from only mild, non-respiratory symptoms
Six weeks for a symptomatic patient (including cough, shortness of breath) who did not require hospitalisation

Eight to 10 weeks for an asymptomatic patient who is diabetic, immunocompromised, or was hospitalized with COVID-19

Twelve weeks for a patient who was admitted to ICU with COVID-19

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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"Also, a minimum period of six weeks prior to non-urgent surgery is recommended for COVID-recovered patients who were symptomatic. As for emergency surgeries in recovering or recovered patients, these must be done immediately with due precautions," infectious diseases expert Sanjay Pujari, a member of the task force, told the publication.

The experts also advised against COVID-19 retesting within 102 days after recovery, due to the presence of "non-viable dead-virus particles" that remain in the body for some time, which could lead to a false positive.

"At present, Covid reinfection is confirmed only after 102 days of diagnosis. So, retesting within this time frame is not advisable," Pujari said.

Currently, surgeons are asking recovered COVID-19 patients to take RT-PCR/RAT tests as a part of the pre-operating procedure.



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first published: May 31, 2021 12:31 pm
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