NEW DELHI: Doctors at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) have found that while fever and cough are the most common symptoms of Covid-19, digestive symptoms like diarrhoea and neurological symptoms like stroke could be emergency signs that warrant immediate medical attention.They have seen that in some patients Covid-19 can also infect other organs and not just the respiratory tract, causing a wide range of symptoms from gastrointestinal disorders to a brain stroke.Larger studies from China and France have also investigated the prevalence of neurological disorders in Covid-19 patients.Their studies showed that 36% of patients have had neurological symptoms. The studies also revealed many other symptoms such as headache or dizziness. Other more specific and severe symptoms were also seen, including loss of smell or taste, muscle weakness, stroke, seizure and hallucinations.75590010Likewise, nearly half of the Covid-19 patients enrolled in the study conducted in the Hubei province of China exhibited digestive symptoms, such as diarrhoea and anorexia, and cited them as their chief complaint.The preliminary findings from AIIMS are part of 49 research projects which the institute has initiated to study Covid-19 and its behaviour.“Maximum patients will show flulike symptoms but in some percentage it has been seen that they did now show flu-like symptoms but showed rare manifestations like neurological and diarrhoeal symptoms,” said a senior AIIMS doctor, who did not wish to be named.AIIMS director Randeep Guleria has constituted a task force for Covid-19 research.“The projects take into account various aspects of the disease, point of care, diagnostics, patients who are asymptomatic and the effect on contacts. There is an array of such projects,” said Guleria.AIIMS is conducting studies on healthcare workers, looking into not only the effect of hydroxychloroquine but also their psychological well-being.“We are also looking into psychological aspect of Covid-19 on healthcare workers infected with the virus,” said the doctor cited earlier. “The study is assessing the impact of Covid-19 on the mental health of healthcare workers and its effect on the contacts of healthcare workers. The healthcare workers and their contacts have been given a proforma which will be evaluated.”The patients are asymptomatic, said the doctor, and AIIMS studies are also looking at why does it happen, the severity of infection, patients on ventilator, computer designing of drugs, artificial intelligence, effect of Covid-19 on non-Covid patient consultations, rapid diagnosis and intervention trials related to repurposing of drugs and equipment-related innovations.The study on whether hydroxychloroquine is effective is underway. Other studies, to look into whether plasma therapy is significant and the World Health Organization’s solidarity trial, have yet to be started at AIIMS, according to doctors.The solidarity trial will compare four different treatment regimens and will compare their effectiveness to what is called standard of care — the regular support hospitals treating Covid-19 patients use now. These are antiviral compound called remdesivir, malaria medications chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, a combination of HIV drugs lopinavir and ritonavir, and that same combination plus interferon-beta, an immune system messenger that can help cripple viruses.At a time when more than 50 drugs and experimental cocktails are being examined to treat Covid-19, the Indian Council of Medical Research has also decided to look at “repurposed molecules” and go for their in-vitro testing on the isolates that India has generated so far.