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Forensic Sci Med Pathol ; 17(1): 101-113, 2021 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1006322


Modern technologies enable the exchange of information about the expansion of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and the continually increasing number of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases almost in real time. The gravity of a current epidemiological situation is represented by the mortality rates, which are scrupulously updated daily. Performing autopsies on patients with either suspected or confirmed COVID-19 is of high importance since these might not only improve clinical management but also reduce the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection expansion. The following paper aimed to present the most crucial aspects of SARS-CoV-2 infection from the point of view of forensic experts and pathologists, recommendations and safety precautions regarding autopsies, autopsy room requirements, possible techniques, examinations used for effective viral detection, recommendations regarding burials, and gross and microscopic pathological findings of the deceased who died due to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Autopsies remain the gold standard for determining the cause of death. Therefore, it would be beneficial to perform autopsies on patients with both suspected and confirmed COVID-19, especially those with coexisting comorbidities.

Autopsy/standards , COVID-19/prevention & control , Forensic Pathology/standards , Infection Control/standards , Infectious Disease Transmission, Patient-to-Professional/prevention & control , Air Filters , Burial , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19 Testing , Cadaver , Clothing , Cremation , Disease Reservoirs , Embalming , Humans , Lung/diagnostic imaging , Lung/pathology , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/isolation & purification , Personal Protective Equipment , Radiography , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Specimen Handling , Tomography, X-Ray Computed
J Forensic Leg Med ; 76: 102067, 2020 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-863228


On 31 December 2019, health authorities in the People's Republic of China informed the World Health Organization of a then limited outbreak of interstitial viral pneumonia, identified at a laboratory in the city of Wuhan. In mid-April 2020 this outbreak of COVID-19 (as the disease has been called) has aggravated and spread worldwide, causing more than 200,000 deaths and affecting especially the United States, Spain, Italy, France and the United Kingdom. Despite the severity of the outbreak, the pathological findings have not been described in detail and there are very few guidelines or protocols for conducting autopsy studies on patients who have died from COVID-19. There are currently very few histopathological case series studies on this disease. In addition, some of these studies have been performed on biopsies or surgical resection pieces from patients in whom disease was subsequently demonstrated or through minimally invasive autopsy protocols. None of the studies offer a detailed necropsy protocol. This document proposes a protocol of action for the institutes of Forensic Medicine facing the current SARS-CoV2 pandemic, which combines protection of worker safety with optimization of tissue collection.

Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Forensic Pathology/standards , Pneumonia, Viral/pathology , Practice Guidelines as Topic , Specimen Handling/standards , Autopsy , COVID-19 , Forensic Medicine/standards , Forensic Sciences/standards , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
J Forensic Leg Med ; 73: 102000, 2020 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-597170


The Covid-19 pandemic is also a considerable risk for forensic workers, among other healthcare providers. The risk of contamination is serious in post-mortem procedures. SARS-CoV2 is a microorganism classified as Hazard Group 3. However, the lack of adequate scientific work on Covid-19 should prompt us to be even more cautious when handling potentially infected persons or materials. Before starting the post-mortem investigation a risk assessment should be carried out and the suitability of facilities, personnel and equipment should be evaluated. An autopsy room conforming to BSL 3 standards would be ideal but is not mandatory. For suspicious or approved cases however a number of procedural changes must be made concerning the body's removal, storage and inspection procedures. Facilities, equipment and training issues need to be revised against existing and potential risks of infection. In addition to proper ventilation and insulation, personal protective equipment, aerosol reduction measures and disinfection applications are required. As of yet it is still unclear how long this public health issue, which has grown to become a pandemic, will last. This article highlights preventive measures to be taken into consideration in post-mortem processes when a Covid-19 infection is suspected or confirmed. It should be noted that there is no standard guide yet in this regard. A guide should be created according to international standards and revised according to changing conditions.

Autopsy/standards , Betacoronavirus/pathogenicity , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Forensic Pathology/standards , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Autopsy/methods , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/mortality , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Germany , Pneumonia, Viral/mortality , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , Risk Assessment , SARS-CoV-2