Necropsies identify coronavirus in the testicles and salivary glands

Publicado em 24 abril 2020

A group of researchers from the Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, University of São Paulo (FMUSP) tries to understand how the new coronavirus affects the human body to help treat patients. The study is done with necropsies in dead by the covid-19.

The study looked, for example, that the coronavirus spreads to other organs besides the lung, such as the brain, testicles and salivary glands. The FMUSP professor and one of the researchers participating in the project Paulo Saldiva stressed that the data are still initial.

“The virus is primarily pulmonary and spreads. How does it get to the brain? This is a very valuable question and we are still researching it. There are several doubts,” said Saldiva, in an interview with state. “One of the goals is to see how the virus spreads and the reaction it provokes to explain why the person died, which is essential for taking medication,” he added.

More than 20 necropsies were carried out and the goal is to reach at least 50. The study began a month ago and is funded by the São Paulo State Research Support Foundation (Fapesp) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

There are 12 researchers working on the project. They are divided: one team collects tissue and the other analyzes it later. Because of the high degree of contagiousness of the new coronavirus, necropsy is performed using minimally invasive procedures. Instead of using a scalpel, an imaging system is used and some needles are inserted to remove the tissues. Researchers need to get dressed up for the job.

“Physically it is exhausting because of the vestments and it also has an emotional cost. A necropsy under normal conditions would last 50 minutes, and now we are doing about 90 minutes. Then in the laboratory it is another 5 hours of microscope examination. We are working every days in it, “said Saldiva.

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