Alliance for Pandemic Preparedness

December 18, 2020

Postmortem Stability of SARS-CoV-2 in Nasopharyngeal Mucosa



Keywords (Tags):

  • Infectious SARS-CoV-2 virus is persistent in postmortem tissue. A study of SARS-CoV-2 postmortem viral RNA stability found evidence for maintained infectivity of the virus from the tissues of deceased individuals, and no time-dependent decrease in viral load. There was also no correlation between the postmortem interval (time of death until cooling at 4°C; median 17.8 hours) and the viral RNA loads of detected in deceased individuals. The authors note that the infectivity study relies on a limited number of cases and patients with severe immunosuppression, and suggest further research investigating viral persistence in individuals with longer postmortem intervals (>1 week) and those exhibiting lower initial viral loads.

Heinrich et al. (Dec 16, 2020). Postmortem Stability of SARS-CoV-2 in Nasopharyngeal Mucosa. Emerging Infectious Diseases.