No SARS-CoV-2 detection in the German CAPNETZ cohort of community acquired pneumonia before COVID-19 peak in March 2020

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Abstract

Purpose: The first SARS-CoV-2 cases in Europe were reported in January 2020. Recently, concern arose on unrecognized infections before this date. For a better understanding of the pandemic, we retrospectively analyzed patient samples for SARS-CoV-2 from the prospective CAPNETZ study cohort. Methods: We used nasopharyngeal swab samples from a cohort of well characterized patients with community acquired pneumonia of the CAPNETZ study group, recruited from different geographic regions across Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, and Switzerland between 02nd December 2019 and 28th April 2020. Multiplex real-time RT-PCR for a broad range of respiratory pathogens and SARS-CoV-2 real-time RT-PCR were performed on all samples. Results: In our cohort, respiratory pathogens other than SARS-CoV-2 were detected in 21.5% (42/195) of patients with rhinovirus as the most frequently detected pathogen. The detection rate increased to 29.7% (58/195) when SARS-CoV-2 was included. No SARS-CoV-2 positive sample was detected before end of March 2020. Conclusions: Respiratory viral pathogens accounted for a considerable number of positive results but no SARS-CoV-2 case was identified before the end of March 2020.

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Panning, M., Wiener, J., Rothe, K., Schneider, J., Pletz, M. W., Rohde, G., … Traby, L. (2020, December 1). No SARS-CoV-2 detection in the German CAPNETZ cohort of community acquired pneumonia before COVID-19 peak in March 2020. Infection. Springer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH. https://doi.org/10.1007/s15010-020-01471-y

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