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Erschienen in: Der Pathologe 1/2021

26.03.2021 | COVID-19 | Schwerpunkt: COVID-19 Zur Zeit gratis

Detection methods for SARS-CoV-2 in tissue

verfasst von: Saskia von Stillfried, MD, PhD Peter Boor

Erschienen in: Der Pathologe | Sonderheft 1/2021

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Abstract

Background

Analyses for the presence of SARS-CoV‑2 in the tissues of COVID-19 patients is important in order to improve our understanding of the disease pathophysiology for interpretation of diagnostic histopathological findings in autopsies, biopsies, or surgical specimens and to assess the potential for occupational infectious hazard.

Material and methods

In this review we identified 136 published studies in PubMed’s curated literature database LitCovid on SARS-CoV‑2 detection methods in tissues and evaluated them regarding sources of error, specificity, and sensitivity of the methods, taking into account our own experience.

Results

Currently, no sufficiently specific histomorphological alterations or diagnostic features for COVID-19 are known. Therefore, three approaches for SARS-CoV‑2 detection are used: RNA, proteins/antigens, or morphological detection by electron microscopy. In the preanalytical phase, the dominant source of error is tissue quality, especially the different intervals between sample collection and processing or fixation (and its duration) and specifically the interval between death and sample collection in autopsies. However, this information is found in less than half of the studies (e.g., in only 42% of autopsy studies). Our own experience and first studies prove the significantly higher sensitivity and specificity of RNA-based detection methods compared to antigen or protein detection by immunohistochemistry or immunofluorescence. Detection by electron microscopy is time consuming and difficult to interpret.

Conclusions

Different methods are available for the detection of SARS-CoV‑2 in tissue. Currently, RNA detection by RT-PCR is the method of choice. However, extensive validation studies and method harmonization are not available and are absolutely necessary.

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Metadaten
Titel
Detection methods for SARS-CoV-2 in tissue
verfasst von
Saskia von Stillfried
MD, PhD Peter Boor
Publikationsdatum
26.03.2021
Verlag
Springer Medizin
Schlagwort
COVID-19
Erschienen in
Der Pathologe / Ausgabe Sonderheft 1/2021
Print ISSN: 2731-7188
Elektronische ISSN: 2731-7196
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00292-021-00920-1

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