We present an asthmatic 39 year old female frontline healthcare worker in contact with COVID-19 patients, who suffered from respiratory problems for a few days, after which she was found dead by her spouse. Post-mortem (PM) examination showed lung consolidation and histological evidence of diffuse alveolar damage (DAD), in form of hyaline membrane disease, as well as atypical cells, thrombi and fibrin plugs inside pulmonary capillaries. Swab sample testing for SARS-CoV-2 confirmed the infection status. SARS-CoV-2 is a novel coronavirus which first emerged in Wuhan, China, and PM is contributing immensely to uncovering the pathophysiological mechanism of this disease. SARS-CoV-2 enters host cells via the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), and can lead to a fatal pneumonia characterised histologically by DAD (the most consistent PM finding). This is due to invasion by the virus of type II pneumocytes, which leads to the death of both type I and II pneumocytes and increased capillary permeability. This compromises gas exchange which can lead eventually to cardiorespiratory failure and death.
© 2021 Published by Elsevier Ltd.