The DNA contamination of evidentiary trace samples, included those collected in the autopsy room, has significant detrimental consequences for forensic genetics investigation. After the COVID-19 pandemic, methods to prevent environmental contamination in the autopsy room have been developed and intensified. This study aimed to evaluate the level of human DNA contamination of a postmortem examination facility before and after the introduction of COVID-19-related disinfection and cleaning procedures. Ninety-one swabs were collected from the surfaces and the dissecting instruments, analyzed by real-time quantitative PCR (q-PCR), and typed for 21 autosomal STRs. Sixty-seven out of 91 samples resulted in quantifiable human DNA, ranging from 1 pg/μl to 12.4 ng/μl, including all the samples collected before the implementation of COVID-19 cleaning procedures (n = 38) and 29 out of 53 (54.7%) samples taken afterward. All samples containing human DNA were amplified, resulting in mixed (83.6%), single (13.4%), and incomplete (3%) profiles. A statistically significant decrease in DNA contamination was found for dissecting instruments after treatment with chlorhexidine and autoclave (p< 0.05). Environmental decontamination strategies adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic only partially solved the long-standing issue of DNA contamination of postmortem examination facilities. The pandemic represents an opportunity to further stress the need for standardized evidence-based protocols targeted to overcome the problem of DNA contamination in the autopsy room.

Human DNA contamination of postmortem examination facilities: Impact of COVID-19 cleaning procedure

Carla Bini
Primo
;
Arianna Giorgetti
Secondo
;
Elena Giovannini;Guido Pelletti;Paolo Fais
Penultimo
;
Susi Pelotti
Ultimo
2022

Abstract

The DNA contamination of evidentiary trace samples, included those collected in the autopsy room, has significant detrimental consequences for forensic genetics investigation. After the COVID-19 pandemic, methods to prevent environmental contamination in the autopsy room have been developed and intensified. This study aimed to evaluate the level of human DNA contamination of a postmortem examination facility before and after the introduction of COVID-19-related disinfection and cleaning procedures. Ninety-one swabs were collected from the surfaces and the dissecting instruments, analyzed by real-time quantitative PCR (q-PCR), and typed for 21 autosomal STRs. Sixty-seven out of 91 samples resulted in quantifiable human DNA, ranging from 1 pg/μl to 12.4 ng/μl, including all the samples collected before the implementation of COVID-19 cleaning procedures (n = 38) and 29 out of 53 (54.7%) samples taken afterward. All samples containing human DNA were amplified, resulting in mixed (83.6%), single (13.4%), and incomplete (3%) profiles. A statistically significant decrease in DNA contamination was found for dissecting instruments after treatment with chlorhexidine and autoclave (p< 0.05). Environmental decontamination strategies adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic only partially solved the long-standing issue of DNA contamination of postmortem examination facilities. The pandemic represents an opportunity to further stress the need for standardized evidence-based protocols targeted to overcome the problem of DNA contamination in the autopsy room.
Carla Bini, Arianna Giorgetti, Elena Giovannini, Guido Pelletti, Paolo Fais, Susi Pelotti
File in questo prodotto:
Eventuali allegati, non sono esposti

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/897199
 Attenzione

Attenzione! I dati visualizzati non sono stati sottoposti a validazione da parte dell'ateneo

Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus ND
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact