On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the SARS-CoV-2 to be a public health emergency of international concern. Ever since, there’s been a lot of uncertainty in the world. We experienced strict restrictions on what was open, where you could go, and who you could see. Healthcare procedures seemed to change overnight and many industries were at a standstill on how to operate. The cryonics industry was not immune to these challenges.
The cryoprotection process needs to begin as soon as possible after a patient has been pronounced legally dead by a medical professional. This increases the quality of cryopreservation. In many cases, cryoprotection is done by a trained standby team. They’ll be handling the patient’s body throughout the procedure. So, if they die with COVID, would that influence your cryopreservation and your chances for a future revival? Let’s find out.
COVID brought new hurdles to cryopreservation and ongoing cryoprotection methods. The primary concerns had to do with accessibility restrictions and a higher risk of infection from patients. However, Tomorrow Bio was founded the year before, in December 2019 and opened for member sign up in 2020.We’ve continued to grow during the pandemic despite the ongoing uncertainty. Luckily, we didn’t have to perform cryoprotection on any members when the lockdown was strict and traveling was basically forbidden.
Although things have gotten better since the onset of SARS-CoV-2, the pandemic is still happening. Therefore, it’s important to remain diligent about regulations and stay updated regarding any changes.
At the onset of COVID, it would have been difficult for fast response standby teams to get to certain patients because of the various country-specific travel restrictions. Luckily, these accessibility restrictions are no longer an issue. However, there are some hospitals that may still restrict access to patients who test positive for COVID. This means the standby team wouldn’t be able to remain in the section of the hospital where COVID patients are, but they could still be in proximity. Normally, when receiving a patient, the SST team doesn’t need to be in PPE, just regular scrubs. However, when COVID is involved, standby teams most likely wouldn’t be allowed to enter restricted regions without PPE.
If you become terminally ill, it’s important to understand what the regulations and restrictions are of your preferred hospital in regard to cryonics. This gives you the opportunity to make amendments if necessary.
The presence of COVID in patients can also lead to a higher risk of infection for the team performing cryoprotection, especially if they’re notified while the patient is still alive. However, in a confirmed case (and even with non-COVID patients), the Tomorrow Bio team works with masks and other personal protective equipment to reduce transmission. After cryoprotection, the perfusion machines used during the procedure are always cleaned and sanitized to the highest degree. This eliminates any COVID particles and helps reduce the risk of future infection. Tomorrow Bio also thoroughly sterilizes the ambulance following the procedure after a COVID case.
So, to answer the question bluntly, yes, you can still be cryopreserved if you die with COVID. In fact, the only difference from a normal case is that the cryonics team performing cryoprotection needs to wear the appropriate PPE when getting to the patient and performing the procedure. We’re already in full surgical PPE and a face shield, but our standby team may also add an FFP2 mask under a surgical one. Additionally, we may wear disposable scrubs under the surgical gown instead of reusable ones.
COVID is a disease that moves through your lungs and respiratory system. This means that the moment you stop breathing, it becomes more difficult to spread the illness. Therefore, after death (when a patient stops breathing), the body itself won’t spread the infection. The virus is still active within their bodies though, so people may get infected by touching someone with COVID (i.e. via respiratory droplets). However, it’s unlikely that COVID can be transmitted via occupational exposure to blood .
Tomorrow Bio provides all of our members with cryopreservation, except in rare cases (if it’s impossible to get your body or your brain is completely destroyed). Regardless of if you have COVID or a different type of deadly infectious illness, our members take precautions necessary to reduce the risk of transmission while preparing patients for indefinite storage.
When considering the outlook, many people are curious about what would happen during revival if you died with COVID. First of all, future medical technologies will likely be able to treat and even cure several types of conditions and diseases, therefore giving you a possibility of a second life. While we can’t say what future technology will or won’t be capable of, the advancements in nanotechnology are promising.
COVID made everything a little more difficult, but we’ve been able to overcome associated challenges and will continue to operate as normal. Our standby teams are available for worldwide accessibility to our members, we’ll just take a few extra precautions in the process.
For those of you who have been hesitating due to the pandemic, the time to stop cryocrastinating is now! Sign up for biostasis today. If you have any questions about cryopreservation with COVID, feel free to reach out to one of our team members.