Trend of respiratory pathogens during the COVID-19 epidemic

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In Italy, the first SARS-CoV-2 infections were diagnosed in Rome, Lazio region, at the end of January 2020, but sustained transmission occurred later, since the end of February. From 1 February to 12 April 2020, 17,164 nasopharyngeal swabs were tested by real time PCR for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 at the Laboratory of Virology of National Institute for Infectious Diseases “Lazzaro Spallanzani” (INMI) in Rome. In the same period, coincident with the winter peak of influenza and other respiratory illnesses, 847 samples were analyzed by multiplex PCR assay for the presence of common respiratory pathogens. In our study the time trend of SARS-CoV-2 and that of other respiratory pathogens in the same observation period were analysed. Overall, results obtained suggest that the spread of the pandemic SARS-CoV-2 virus did not substantially affect the time trend of other respiratory infections in our region, highlighting no significant difference in rates of SARS-CoV-2 infection in patients with or without other respiratory pathogens. Therefore, in the present scenario of COVID-19 pandemic, differential diagnosis resulting positive for common respiratory pathogen(s) should not exclude testing of SARS-CoV-2.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104470
Pages (from-to)1-3
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Clinical Virology
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - May 26 2020


  • Respiratory pathogens
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Trend of infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases


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