AIIMS conducts pilot study to assess effect of radiation therapy on Corona patients

New Delhi: The All India Institute of Medical Sciences has recently kicked off a pilot study to analyse the effects of radiation therapy in alleviating pneumonia symptoms that a COVID-19 patient might develop. Dr D N Sharma, head of the Radiation Oncology department at AIIMS and the principal investigator of the research project has said that two COVID-19 patients on oxygen support were given the therapy last Saturday and their condition had improved since then.

"Both the patients, aged above 50, who are admitted at the National Cancer Institute, AIIMS, Jhajjar Centre are off the oxygen support now," Dr Sharma said, adding that radiation is generally used in high doses for cancer patients but in this case, a safer and lower dosage was being given to the patients.

"We are giving a safe low dose of radiation at 70 cGy in one sitting to the patient," he elaborated. The entire treatment takes around 15 to 20 minutes and has no side-effects as per results available till now. According to Sharma, this treatment mode was used until the 1940s for treating pneumonia when there were no antibiotics.

Under the pilot project, eight more patients will undergo the therapy after which the data of the results will be analysed. If the therapy is found to

be effective in COVID-19 treatment in moderate to severe cases, the research project would be expanded further, Sharma said, adding that similar studies are on in the US, Spain and Italy.

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