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1.
Healthcare (Basel) ; 10(2)2022 Feb 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1674597

ABSTRACT

During the COVID-19 pandemic, forensic sciences, on the one hand, contributed to gaining knowledge about different aspects of the pandemic, while on the other hand, forensic professionals were called on to quickly adapt their activities to respond adequately to the changes imposed by the pandemic. This review aims to clarify the state of the art in forensic medicine at the time of COVID-19, discussing the following: the influence of external factors on forensic activities, the impact of autopsy practice on COVID-19 and vice-versa, the persistence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in post-mortem samples, forensic personnel activities during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, the global vaccination program and forensic sciences, forensic undergraduate education during and after the imposed COVID-19 lockdown, and the medico-legal implications in medical malpractice claims during the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly influenced different aspects of human life, and, accordingly, the practical activities of forensic sciences that are defined as multidisciplinary, involving different expertise. Indeed, the activities are very different, including crime scene investigation (CSI), external examination, autopsy, and genetic and toxicological examinations of tissues and/or biological fluids. At the same time, forensic professionals may have direct contact with subjects in life, such as in the case of abuse victims (in some cases involving children), collecting biological samples from suspects, or visiting subjects in the case of physical examinations. In this scenario, forensic professionals are called on to implement methods to prevent the SARS-CoV-2 infection risk, wearing adequate PPE, and working in environments with a reduced risk of infection. Consequently, in the pandemic era, the costs involved for forensic sciences were substantially increased.

2.
Healthcare (Basel) ; 10(2)2022 Jan 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1667120

ABSTRACT

Health risks within prisons are well known and have worsened with the 2019 coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), becoming a public health emergency. To date, there are more than 10 million inmates in the world; in most cases, conditions are bad and health care is scarce. A SARS-CoV-2 outbreak inside a prison is extremely rapid. The aim of this systematic review was to analyze all possible prevention techniques to reduce the risk of COVID-19 related infection within prisons. A systematic review of the literature was performed according to the PRISMA guidelines. Scopus, Web of Science, PubMed, and Google Scholar were used as search engines from 1 January 2020 to 1 November 2021 to evaluate the prevention of COVID-19 in prisoners. A total of 1757 articles were collected. Of them, 486 duplicates were removed. A total of 1250 articles did not meet the inclusion criteria. In conclusion, 21 articles were included in the present systematic review. From this analysis, it emerged that the most common COVID-19 prevention methods were the screening of the entire population (prisoners and workers) inside the prison through swab analysis and the reduction in overcrowding in prisons. Few studies concerned the prevention of COVID-19 infection through vaccination and the implementation of quarantine. To our knowledge, this is the first systematic review that evaluates the prevention of COVID-19 within jails and the real effectiveness of all possible methods used and published in the literature. Finally, a very useful strategic protocol is provided to reduce the incidence of infection and to control and manage COVID-19 in prisons.

3.
Pathol Res Pract ; 231: 153796, 2022 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1665390

ABSTRACT

This case report describes a fatal case of a young woman with superior sagittal, transverse and sigmoid sinus thrombosis after administration of the ChAdOx1 nCov-19 vaccination. Eleven days post-vaccination she was found unconscious and transferred to the Emergency Department. Blood parameters showed low platelets, and a CT scan showed an extensive left intracranial hemorrhage and the presence of an occlusive thrombus of the superior sagittal sinus. She under-went a craniectomy, but after the intervention, she remained in a comatose state. After a few days, her clinical conditions worsened, and she died. A complete autopsy was performed which showed a thrombosis of the cerebral venous district, of the upper and lower limbs. A blood sample was also performed to carry out a gene study about the predisposition to thrombosis. The organ samples were studied through light microscope both in hematoxylin-eosin and immunohistochemical examination, and showed a strong inflammatory response in all samples and at the site of thrombosis. Our study aims to provide a proper autopsy technique to study the entire cerebral venous system through a multidisciplinary approach (anatomical dissection and neurosurgery) in post-vaccine venous thrombosis.


Subject(s)
/adverse effects , Sinus Thrombosis, Intracranial/etiology , Thrombocytopenia/etiology , Adult , COVID-19/prevention & control , Fatal Outcome , Female , Humans
4.
J Clin Med ; 10(24)2021 Dec 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1572532

ABSTRACT

The current challenge worldwide is the administration of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) vaccine. Considering that the COVID-19 vaccination represents the best possibility to resolve this pandemic, this systematic review aims to clarify the major aspects of fatal adverse effects related to COVID-19 vaccines, with the goal of advancing our knowledge, supporting decisions, or suggesting changes in policies at local, regional, and global levels. Moreover, this review aims to provide key recommendations to improve awareness of vaccine safety. All studies published up to 2 December 2021 were searched using the following keywords: "COVID-19 Vaccine", "SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine", "COVID-19 Vaccination", "SARS-CoV-2 Vaccination", and "Autopsy" or "Post-mortem". We included 17 papers published with fatal cases with post-mortem investigations. A total of 38 cases were analyzed: 22 cases were related to ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 administration, 10 cases to BNT162b2, 4 cases to mRNA-1273, and 2 cases to Ad26.COV2.S. Based on these data, autopsy is very useful to define the main characteristics of the so-called vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT) after ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccination: recurrent findings were intracranial hemorrhage and diffused microthrombi located in multiple areas. Moreover, it is fundamental to provide evidence about myocarditis related to the BNT162B2 vaccine. Finally, based on the discussed data, we suggest several key recommendations to improve awareness of vaccine safety.

5.
Diagnostics (Basel) ; 11(10)2021 Oct 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1470807

ABSTRACT

To date, little is known regarding the transmission risks of SARS-CoV-2 infection for subjects involved in handling, transporting, and examining deceased persons with known or suspected COVID-19 positivity at the time of death. This experimental study aims to define if and/or how long SARS-CoV-2 persists with replication capacity in the tissues of individuals who died with/from COVID-19, thereby generating infectious hazards. Sixteen patients who died with/from COVID-19 who underwent autopsy between April 2020 and April 2021 were included in this study. Based on PMI, all samples were subdivided into two groups: 'short PMI' group (eight subjects who were autopsied between 12 to 72 h after death); 'long PMI' (eight subjects who were autopsied between 24 to 78 days after death). All patients tested positive for RT-PCR at nasopharyngeal swab both before death and on samples collected during post-mortem investigation. Moreover, a lung specimen was collected and frozen at -80 °C in order to perform viral culture. The result was defined based on the cytopathic effect (subjective reading) combined with the positivity of the RT-PCR test (objective reading) in the supernatant. Only in one sample (PMI 12 h), virus vitality was demonstrated. This study, supported by a literature review, suggests that the risk of cadaveric infection in cases of a person who died from/with COVID-19 is extremely low in the first hours after death, becoming null after 12 h after death, confirming the World Health Organization (WHO) assumed in March 2020 and suggesting that the corpse of a subject who died from/with COVID-19 should be generally considered not infectious.

6.
Diagnostics (Basel) ; 11(7)2021 Jun 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1288828

ABSTRACT

The Coronavirus Disease 19 (COVID-19) pandemic has caused an unexpected death toll worldwide. Even though several guidelines for the management of infectious corpses have been proposed, the limited number of post-mortem analyses during the pandemic has led to inaccuracies in the counting of COVID-19 deaths and contributed to a lack of important information about the pathophysiology of the SARS-CoV-2 infection. Due to the impossibility of carrying out autopsies on all corpses, the scientific community has raised the question of whether confirmatory analyses could be performed on exhumed bodies after a long period of burial to assess the presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA. Post-mortem lung samples were collected from 16 patients who died from COVID-19 infection and were buried for a long period of time. A custom RNA extraction protocol was developed to enhance extraction of viral RNA from degraded samples and highly sensitive molecular methods, including RT-qPCR and droplet digital PCR (ddPCR), were used to detect the presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA. The custom extraction protocol developed allowed us to extract total RNA effectively from all lung samples collected. SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA was effectively detected in all samples by both RT-qPCR and ddPCR, regardless of the length of burial. ddPCR results confirmed the persistence of the virus in this anatomical niche and revealed high viral loads in some lung samples, suggesting active infection at the time of death. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to demonstrate the persistence of SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA in the lung even after a long post-mortem interval (up to 78 days). The extraction protocol herein described, and the highly sensitive molecular analyses performed, could represent the standard procedures for SARS-CoV-2 detection in degraded lung specimens. Finally, the innovative results obtained encourage post-mortem confirmatory analyses even after a long post-mortem interval.

7.
Diagnostics (Basel) ; 11(6)2021 May 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1243964

ABSTRACT

The current challenge worldwide is the administration of anti-severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) vaccines. Even if rarely, severe vascular adverse reactions temporally related to vaccine administration have induced diffidence in the population at large. In particular, researchers worldwide are focusing on the so-called "thrombosis and thrombocytopenia after COVID-19 vaccination". This study aims to establish a practical workflow to define the relationship between adverse events following immunization (AEFI) and COVID-19 vaccination, following the basic framework of the World Health Organization (WHO). Post-mortem investigation plays a pivotal role to support this causality relationship when death occurs. To demonstrate the usefulness and feasibility of the proposed workflow, we applied it to two exemplificative cases of suspected AEFI following COVID-19 vaccination. Based on the proposed model, we took into consideration any possible causality relationship between COVID-19 vaccine administration and AEFI. This led us to conclude that vaccination with ChAdOx1 nCov-19 may cause the rare development of immune thrombocytopenia mediated by platelet-activating antibodies against platelet factor 4 (PF4), which clinically mimics heparin-induced autoimmune thrombocytopenia. We suggest the adoption of the proposed methodology in order to confirm or rule out a causal relationship between vaccination and the occurrence of AEFI.

8.
Diagnostics (Basel) ; 11(3)2021 Mar 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1160481

ABSTRACT

To date, there is poor evidence on the transmission of infection in individuals handling the bodies of deceased persons infected with SARS-CoV-2 and in particular, during autopsies. The aim of this study was to demonstrate that when appropriate strategies are adopted autopsy is a safe procedure with a minimal infection risk for all subjects involved (pathologists, technical personnel, and others) when proper strategies are adopted. We performed 16 autopsies on cadavers of persons who had died with confirmed COVID-19 with different post-mortem intervals (PMI). To confirm the presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA, for each autopsy, 2 swabs were sampled from lungs, while to evaluate environmental contamination, 11 swabs were taken at three different times: T0 (before autopsy), T1 (at the end of the autopsy, without removing the corpse), and T2 (after cleaning and disinfecting the autopsy room). Specifically, 2 swabs were sampled on face shields used by each pathologist, and 4 swabs were collected on the autopsy table; 4 swabs were also collected from walls and 1 from floor. Lung swabs confirmed the presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in all cases. Environmental swabs, collected at T0 and T2 were all negative, while swabs sampled at T1 were shown to be positive. Interestingly, no association was shown between PMI length and environmental contamination. Infection control strategies for safe management of clinical forensic autopsies of bodies with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are also described.

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