Tracking the Spread of COVID-19 with Forensic Analysis

Published on 
May 27, 2020

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Linda Szymanski, DO, Neuropathologist, Director, Autopsy and Perinatal Pathology

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, scientists and clinicians have sought to better understand the virus and how it spreads. Analysis of antibodies developed against the coronavirus can offer insight into timing and extent of illness. Linda Szymanski, DO, Neuropathologist and Director of Autopsy and Perinatal Pathology at CHLA, and Julie Huss-Bawab, MD, of the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner, are working to analyze post-mortem blood samples associated with COVID-19-related deaths from November 2019 through May 2020 to identify the earliest presence of the disease. This analysis will allow investigators to establish a timeline regarding the extent of infection in Los Angeles County, and could assist in prediction of future disease spread.