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


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.