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Nature ; : 1-6, 2022.
Article in English | PubMed Central | ID: covidwho-2160240

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is known to cause multi-organ dysfunction1–3 during acute infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), with some patients experiencing prolonged symptoms, termed post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 (refs. 4,5). However, the burden of infection outside the respiratory tract and time to viral clearance are not well characterized, particularly in the brain3,6–14. Here we carried out complete autopsies on 44 patients who died with COVID-19, with extensive sampling of the central nervous system in 11 of these patients, to map and quantify the distribution, replication and cell-type specificity of SARS-CoV-2 across the human body, including the brain, from acute infection to more than seven months following symptom onset. We show that SARS-CoV-2 is widely distributed, predominantly among patients who died with severe COVID-19, and that virus replication is present in multiple respiratory and non-respiratory tissues, including the brain, early in infection. Further, we detected persistent SARS-CoV-2 RNA in multiple anatomic sites, including throughout the brain, as late as 230 days following symptom onset in one case. Despite extensive distribution of SARS-CoV-2 RNA throughout the body, we observed little evidence of inflammation or direct viral cytopathology outside the respiratory tract. Our data indicate that in some patients SARS-CoV-2 can cause systemic infection and persist in the body for months.

2.
Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science ; 63(7):1671-A0501, 2022.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-2058092

ABSTRACT

Purpose : To systematically investigate ocular changes in autopsied eyes from fatal cases of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and to investigate the localization of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) within ocular structures. Methods : Macroscopic and microscopic histopathological evaluation was performed and the localization of SARS-CoV-2 RNA within ocular tissues investigated using an in situ hybridization (ISH) technique in 13 eyes. Contralateral eyes were freshly dissected, and droplet digital polymerase chain reaction (ddPCR) assay was performed on ocular fluids and tissues to quantify SARS-CoV-2 RNA. Results : A total of 21 fatal COVID-19 cases were included (mean age, 60.2 years [range, 27- 91 years];23.8% female). Histopathological abnormalities include vascular changes (61.9%), cytoid bodies (52.4%), and retinal edema (23.8%) with minimal inflammation (0.09%) were observed. Non-CMV viral inclusions were identified in one eye. No CMV positivity was detected. Of the 21 contralateral eyes tested by ddPCR, 14 tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. Using ddPCR and ISH, SARS-CoV-2 localization was observed in the following ocular tissues and fluid: cornea (27.3%), aqueous (26.3%), lens (54.5%), vitreous (15.0%), retina (22.2%), choroid/sclera (47.4%), and optic nerve (50.0%). The choroid/sclera, optic nerve and lens were the most frequent ocular structures found to be ddPCR positive. Evidence of replication was detected in four cases. Conclusions : Our results suggest that SARS-CoV-2 localizes to intraocular tissues. However, histological changes observed are likely a secondary hemodynamic change rather than primary effect of the virus.

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