The computerized tomography scan (CT scan) cannot properly detect mild coronavirus cases, AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria said at a press conference today, as he warned against its misuse. The top doctor, who is also a member of the national pandemic task force, added that blood tests can’t always prove Covid infections as other underlying diseases can also trigger a spike in biomarkers.
The CT scan machine takes cross-sectional images of the body using computers and rotating X-ray machines. They are being used to detect Covid infections by detecting signs of pneumonia or white patches in lungs. More people are relying on the expensive scan than last year as reports suggest the mutant variants of the virus can go undetected in the gold standard RT-PCR test.
“CT scan and markers are being misused. A lot of people are getting CT scans done. There is no use of the scan in early stages as it will not detect (Covid) properly in mild cases,” Dr Guleria said.
He said asymptomatic patients with normal oxygen saturation should not go for CT scans.
He said people with mild infections should not opt for blood tests.
Dr Guleria also warned against use of steroids in the early stages of infection.
“We have issued clinical guidelines for management of Covid. It clarifies that those with mild illness do not need a medicine. Early-stage steroids can cause more harm than advantage. Steroids only help with moderate illness,” he added.
Dr Guleria said oxygen therapy, steroids and anti-coagulants can be used to treat moderate patients.
He said that Remdesivir, Tocilizumab and plasma therapy were only emergency measures.
A tsunami of coronavirus cases has hit India amid the rapid second wave of infections. The massive caseload has caused shortages of medical oxygen, hospital beds and essential medicines.