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Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2, previously called 2019-nCoV) belongs to the family of coronaviruses and, like SARS-CoV, is classified in the genus Betacoronavirus. At the end of 2019, SARS-CoV-2 caused an infection wave which quickly spread worldwide and was declared a pandemic by the WHO in March 2020. Just a few days after the first report about patients with pneumonia of unclear origin, SARS-CoV-2 was identified as the causative pathogen and the associated disease named COVID-19.
SARS-CoV-2 is mainly transmitted via aerosols during speaking, breathing, coughing or sneezing or at close contact with an infected person. The incubation period is three to seven, maximally 14 days. The symptoms and severity of SARS-CoV-19 infection can vary significantly. The most common symptoms encompass fever, coughing, breathing difficulties and fatigue. Therefore, in the majority of patients, the infection resembles a cold with light fever, with irregular lung infiltrates. Some patients, especially older and chronically ill persons, develop severe acute respiratory distress syndrome.
Suitable methods for the diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infections are the detection of viral RNA by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) or of virus protein by means primarily in sample material from the upper (nasopharyngeal or oropharyngeal swab) or lower respiratory tract (bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, tracheal secretion, sputum, etc.). The RT-PCR allows detection of the pathogen even in subclinical or asymptomatic courses already few days after virus contact and up to 14 after onset of possible symptoms.
The EURORealTime-SARS-CoV-2 test enables highly specific and sensitive direct detection of SARS-CoV-2 by means of reverse-transcriptase real-time PCR. Reverse transcription, amplification and detection of the SARS-CoV-2 cDNA are performed by means of specific primers and probes. For differential diagnostics of symptoms which can be associated both with COVID-19 and Influenza, EUROIMMUN offers a combined tests for the parameters SARS-CoV-2, Influenza virus type A and Influenza virus type B: EURORealTime SARS-CoV-2/Influenza A/B
Optionally, the analysis of raw data, interpretation of data, generation of result reports and electronic archiving of results including all internal and external controls, can be completely automated via the EURORealTime Analysis software. The data processing steps required in the real-time PCR are thus significantly simplified and accelerated. The software also provides convenient guidance through the entire work procedure, thus preventing errors. The software also provides convenient guidance through the entire work procedure, thus preventing the occurrence of errors.
Moreover, the EUROIMMUN product portfolio for COVID-19 diagnostics encompasses serological tests for differentiated detection of antibodies of different immunoglobulin classes and against different SARS-CoV-2 antigens.