Proposal for a harmonized protocol for COVID-19 screening and necropsy in forensic sciences facilities.J Forensic Leg Med. 2020 Nov; 76:102067.JF
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.