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Available online 1 November 2021
Detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA by PCR in a series of corpses sent for autopsy
Detección de ARN del SARS-CoV-2 por PCR en una serie de cadáveres remitidos para autopsia
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Adriana C. D’Addarioa, Cristina A. Bustosb, Roberto V. Cohenb, Alejandro F. Rullán Cornab, Patricia E. Gómezb, Rubén H. Torrisib, Héctor Di Salvob, Jorge A. Herbsteinb, Federico Remes Lenicovc, Santiago Maffia Bizzozeroa,
Corresponding author
smaffia@gmail.com

Corresponding author.
a Morgue Judicial de la Nación, Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, Argentina
b Departamento de Tanatología, Morgue Judicial de la Nación, Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, Argentina
c Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas en Retrovirus y Sida, Universidad de Buenos Aires – CONICET, Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, Argentina
Received 27 June 2020. Accepted 05 February 2021
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Abstract

Following the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 in the world, the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, affecting 185 countries. There have been numerous scientific publications presenting epidemiological, clinical, statistical, and microbiological data. The high mortality has implied the need for increasingly accurate data regarding the virus and its behaviour in the environment and, on the other hand, faced health teams with a serious problem in relation to the safe handling of corpses and the risks of transmission that this implies. The objective of this study was to detect the presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in corpses sent to the National Judicial Morgue that were not included in the definition of a suspected case submitted by the Argentine Ministry of Health. Nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swabs were taken from 101 cadavers chosen randomly and based on inclusion criteria for detection of viral RNA using the RT-PCR technique. Of the cadavers included in the study, 16.8%, not classified as suspected cases of COVID-19, were tested for the presence of viral RNA in the samples collected.

Keywords:
COVID-19
PCR
Corpses
Morgue
Autopsy
Resumen

A partir de la emergencia del SARS-CoV-2 en el mundo se desató la pandemia por COVID-19 que afectó a 185 países; aparecieron numerosas publicaciones científicas presentando datos epidemiológicos, clínicos, estadísticos y microbiológicos. La elevada mortalidad ha implicado la necesidad de contar con datos cada vez más precisos con relación al virus y a su comportamiento en el medio y, por otro lado, enfrentó a los equipos de salud con un grave problema con relación al manejo seguro de cadáveres y a los riesgos de transmisión que ello implica. El objetivo del presente estudio ha sido detectar la presencia de ARN del SARS-CoV-2 en cadáveres remitidos a la Morgue Judicial de la Nación que no estuvieran comprendidos en la definición de caso sospechoso propuesta por el Ministerio de Salud de la Nación de la República Argentina. Se realizaron hisopados nasofaríngeos a 101 cadáveres elegidos aleatoriamente y basándose en criterios de inclusión para la detección de ARN viral mediante técnica RT-PCR. Se detectó ARN viral en el 16,8% de los cadáveres incluidos en el estudio.

Palabras clave:
COVID-19
PCR
Cadáveres
Morgue
Autopsia

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