New Delhi: Amid the rising number of Covid cases, cases of liver injuries or dysfunction as a post-Covid complication are also increasing.

Doctors have pointed out that if people with pre-existing liver diseases like chronic liver disease, cirrhosis, or related complications contract the SARS COV-2 virus, they are at a high risk of complications and fatalities.

Neerav Goyal, Senior Consultant, Liver Transplant, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, Delhi, told The Sunday Guardian: “Covid-19 is primarily a respiratory illness that impacts the lungs; it is not reported to have any adverse impact on liver health unless the patient has pre-existing liver disease. The condition is not fatal, but liver tests can show slight abnormalities which if attended to timely, can be treated.”

“This virus itself is a potential cause of liver injury as it causes inflammatory reactions impacting the generalized immunity adversely. The inflammation can cause complications to the heart, liver, and lung. In case of impact on the lungs, if there is no underlying long-standing liver damage, then the inflammatory reaction due to Covid is usually mild,” Goyal said.

Several studies show an association between liver damage and some of the medications that doctors are using to treat Covid-19. This is especially true in the case of a drug called Tocilizumab. As the current Covid situation breaks all records in India, social media has been filled with desperate requests for help in finding the drugs Remdesivir and Tocilizumab. The antiviral drug Remdesivir is being prescribed by doctors across the country, and it is in high demand. Meanwhile, Tocilizumab, a drug normally used to treat arthritis, has been proven to save lives in some clinical trials.

“Liver abnormalities/dysfunction in Covid patients remain limited unless they have pre-existing liver complications. Cases of liver injuries have been seen in Covid patients who have had prolonged hospitalization with severe complications. The situation can be prevented first primarily if people with existing liver diseases maintain all precautions of protection from Covid-19 and if they contract the virus, timely intervention from the doctor is essential,” Goyal added.