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.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)971-974
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 12.2020

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)

Coronavirus related work

  • Research on SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19


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