Microbiology Time

Looking forward to the long Easter weekend!? Meanwhile, take some time to read our April Microbiology Time, which includes a study on SARS-CoV-2 detection in cadavers, a German investigation of respiratory infections in hospitalized children, and an analysis of demographics, symptoms, and outcomes of individuals diagnosed with monkeypox in an Italian hospital.

  • Is there a risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection from cadavers? This is one of the less-known problems of the COVID-19 pandemic, which affected body donation programs for obtaining cadavers for anatomical dissections, science, and research. This study determined the presence and stability of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in cadavers after fixation and post-fixation steps. By swabbing and real-time PCR analysis, the researchers observed substantial removal of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in post-mortem tissue following perfusion and subsequent post-fixation. With in-vitro experiments, moreover, they showed significant effects of formaldehyde on SARS-CoV-2 RNA. In contrast, phenol and ethanol showed negligible effects, concluding that cadavers subjected to fixation protocols should not pose a considerable risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection.
  • Viral acute respiratory tract infections are a leading cause of hospitalization in infants and young children. This German study obtained nasopharyngeal swabs of hospitalized children with symptoms, performed multiplex molecular analysis of 10 groups of respiratory viruses, and collected clinical data using a standardized questionnaire. Almost 85% of these children were positive for at least one viral pathogen. Of these kids, one-third had coinfections with 2–4 viral pathogens. Respiratory syncytial virus, rhinovirus, and influenza virus were the main pathogens detected, and children younger than 6 months represented the largest age group with a coinfection. Concluding, the researchers point out that a better understanding of the etiology of viral acute respiratory tract infections among hospitalized children plays a key role in future strategies in prevention, control, and treatment of respiratory viral infections.
  • Monkeypox started to spread to Europe and North America in May 2022, and the WHO declared it a public health emergency of international concern in July of the same year. The aim of the third study of this month is to describe demographics, symptoms, and clinical outcomes of individuals diagnosed with monkeypox at the open-access Sexual Health Clinic in IRCCS San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, Italy. Following the physical examination of individuals suspected of being infected by monkeypox, oropharyngeal, anal, genital, and cutaneous swabs, plus plasma, urine, and seminal fluid were collected to detect monkeypox DNA, and screening for sexually transmitted infections was performed. Like in other international studies, the researchers observed frequent sexual Monkeypox transmission and concomitant STIs were common. Symptoms were heterogenous, self-resolving, and responsive to therapy, with few patients needing hospitalization.


Read the studies below: