Autopsies of COVID-19 deceased? Absolutely!

Leg Med (Tokyo). 2020 Nov:47:101769. doi: 10.1016/j.legalmed.2020.101769. Epub 2020 Jul 26.


Autopsies are an essential tool for understanding new diseases. Against this background, it is incomprehensible why there is great reluctance worldwide to perform autopsies on COVID-19 deceased patients. The article provides an overview of the status of the autopsy series published worldwide and shows the path taken by the city of Hamburg in Germany, where autopsies are ordered by the health authorities in the interests of disease control. The risk of infection posed by SARS-CoV-2-positive deceased persons may be overestimated. The scientific benefit that can be drawn from experience with autopsies and further examination of tissue samples is immeasurable.

Keywords: Autopsy; COVID-19; Pandemic; Post mortem; SARS-CoV-2.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autopsy*
  • Betacoronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / mortality*
  • Humans
  • Infection Control / methods*
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Patient-to-Professional / prevention & control*
  • Pandemics
  • Pathology Department, Hospital
  • Pneumonia, Viral / mortality*
  • SARS-CoV-2