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Pathologica ; 112(2): 64-77, 2020 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1052586
J Clin Med ; 9(7)2020 Jun 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-854152


The severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-CoV-2 was identified for the first time in China, in December 2019. Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported around the world; indeed, this infection has been declared a pandemic. Consequently, the scientific community is working hard to gain useful information about the history of this virus, its transmission, diagnosis, clinical features, radiological findings, research and development of candidate therapeutics as well as vaccines. This review aims to analyze the diagnostic techniques used to ascertain the COVID-19 infection, critically reviewing positive points and criticism for forensic implications, obviously including autopsy. Finally, this review proposes a practical workflow to be applied in the management of corpses during this outbreak of the COVID-19 infection, which could be useful in cases of future infectious disease emergencies. Analyzing the diagnostic methods, to date, virus nucleic acid RT-PCR represents the standard method used to ascertain the COVID-19 infection in living subjects and corpses, even if this technique has several criticisms: mainly, the staff should be highly specialized, working in high-throughput settings, able to handle high workloads and aware of health risks and the importance of the results. Thus, IgG/IgM serological tests have been developed, overcoming RT-qPCR duration, costs, and management, not requiring highly trained personnel. Nevertheless, serological tests present problems; the WHO recommends the use of these new point-of-care immunodiagnostic tests only in research settings. Furthermore, nothing has yet been published regarding the possibility of applying these methods during post-mortem investigations. In light of this scenario, in this review, we suggest a flow chart for the pathologist called on to ascertain the cause of death of a subject with historical and clinical findings of COVID-19 status or without any anamnestic, diagnostic, or exposure information. Indeed, the literature data confirmed the analytical vulnerabilities of the kits used for laboratory diagnosis of COVID-19, particularly during postmortem examinations. For these reasons, autopsy remains the gold standard method to ascertain the exact cause of death (from or with COVID-19 infection, or other causes), to consequently provide real data for statistical evaluations and to take necessary measures to contain the risks of the infection. Moreover, performing autopsies could provide information on the pathogenesis of the COVID-19 infection with obvious therapeutic implications.

Diagnostics (Basel) ; 10(8)2020 Aug 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-854079


(1) Background: The current outbreak of COVID-19 infection is an ongoing challenge and a major threat to public health that requires surveillance, prompt diagnosis, as well as research efforts to understand the viral pathogenesis. Despite this, to date, very few studies have been performed concerning autoptic specimens. Therefore, this study aimed: (i) to reiterate the importance of the autoptic examination, the only method able to precisely define the cause of death; (ii) to provide a complete post-mortem histological and immunohistochemical investigation pattern capable of diagnosing death from COVID-19 infection. (2) Methods: In this paper, the lung examination of two subjects who died from COVID-19 are discussed, comparing the obtained data with those of the control, a newborn who died from pneumonia in the same pandemic period. (3) Results: The results of the present study suggest that COVID-19 infection can cause different forms of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), due to diffuse alveolar damage and diffuse endothelial damage. Nevertheless, different patterns of cellular and cytokine expression are associated with anti-COVID-19 antibody positivity, compared to the control case. Moreover, in both case studies, it is interesting to note that COVID-19, ACE2 and FVIII positivity was detected in the same fields. (4) Conclusions: COVID-19 infection has been initially classified as exclusively interstitial pneumonia with varying degrees of severity. Subsequently, vascular biomarkers showed that it can also be considered a vascular disease. The data on Factor VIII discussed in this paper, although preliminary and limited in number, seem to suggest that the thrombogenicity of Sars-CoV2 infection might be linked to widespread endothelial damage. In this way, it would be very important to investigate the pro-coagulative substrate both in all subjects who died and in COVID-19 survivors. This is because it may be hypothesized that the different patterns with which the pathology is expressed could depend on different individual susceptibility to infection or a different personal genetic-clinical background. In light of these findings, it would be important to perform more post-mortem investigations in order to clarify all aspects of the vascular hypothesis in the COVID-19 infection.

Int J Mol Sci ; 21(9)2020 Apr 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-133432


BACKGROUND: On the 31 December 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) was informed of a cluster of cases of pneumonia of unknown origin detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. The infection spread first in China and then in the rest of the world, and on the 11th of March, the WHO declared that COVID-19 was a pandemic. Taking into consideration the mortality rate of COVID-19, about 5-7%, and the percentage of positive patients admitted to intensive care units being 9-11%, it should be mandatory to consider and take all necessary measures to contain the COVID-19 infection. Moreover, given the recent evidence in different hospitals suggesting IL-6 and TNF-α inhibitor drugs as a possible therapy for COVID-19, we aimed to highlight that a dietary intervention could be useful to prevent the infection and/or to ameliorate the outcomes during therapy. Considering that the COVID-19 infection can generate a mild or highly acute respiratory syndrome with a consequent release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, including IL-6 and TNF-α, a dietary regimen modification in order to improve the levels of adiponectin could be very useful both to prevent the infection and to take care of patients, improving their outcomes.

Antioxidants/administration & dosage , Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/therapy , Diet , Dietary Supplements , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , Pneumonia, Viral/therapy , Adiponectin/metabolism , Ascorbic Acid/administration & dosage , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/metabolism , Fatty Acids, Omega-3/administration & dosage , Fatty Acids, Omega-3/metabolism , Flavonoids/administration & dosage , Humans , Interleukin-6/immunology , Interleukin-6/metabolism , Lung Diseases/immunology , Lung Diseases/metabolism , Lung Diseases/therapy , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2 , Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha/metabolism