Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
Journal of Anatomy - 2021 - Quondamatteo - Neutralisation of SARS‐CoV‐2 by anatomical embalming solutions.pdf (343.59 kB)

Neutralisation of SARS-CoV-2 by anatomical embalming solutions

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-07-27, 17:27 authored by Fabio QuondamatteoFabio Quondamatteo, Dora E. Corzo-Leon, Cecilia Brassett, Ian Colquhoun, David C Davies, Peter Dockery, Sue Grenham, Simon Guild, Amanda Hunter, James Jones, Clive LeeClive Lee, Chris Tracey, Tracey Wilkinson, Carol A Munro, Thomas H Gillingwater, Simon H Parson

Teaching and learning anatomy by using human cadaveric specimens has been a foundation of medical and biomedical teaching for hundreds of years. Therefore, the majority of institutions that teach topographical anatomy rely on body donation programmes to provide specimens for both undergraduate and postgraduate teaching of gross anatomy. The COVID-19 pandemic has posed an unprecedented challenge to anatomy teaching because of the suspension of donor acceptance at most institutions. This was largely due to concerns about the potential transmissibility of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the absence of data about the ability of embalming solutions to neutralise the virus. Twenty embalming solutions commonly used in institutions in the United Kingdom and Ireland were tested for their ability to neutralise SARS-CoV-2, using an established cytotoxicity assay. All embalming solutions tested neutralised SARS-CoV-2, with the majority of solutions being effective at high-working dilutions. These results suggest that successful embalming with the tested solutions can neutralise the SARS-CoV-2 virus, thereby facilitating the safe resumption of body donation programmes and cadaveric anatomy teaching. 


Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow

National University of Ireland, Galway

Imperial College London

Anatomical Committee of the Dublin Medical Schools

University of Cambridge

University of Aberdeen

University of Dundee

University College Cork



The original article is available at

Published Citation

Quondamatteo F, et al. Neutralisation of SARS-CoV-2 by anatomical embalming solutions. J Anat. 2021;239(5):1221-1225.

Publication Date

11 October 2021

PubMed ID



  • Anatomy and Regenerative Medicine


John Wiley & Sons, Inc


  • Published Version (Version of Record)