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Euro Surveill. 2020 Jan;25(3). doi: 10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2020.25.3.2000045.

Detection of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) by real-time RT-PCR.

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Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin Institute of Virology, Berlin, Germany and German Centre for Infection Research (DZIF), Berlin, Germany.
Tib-Molbiol, Berlin, Germany.
Department of Viroscience, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Bilthoven, the Netherlands.
University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China.
Universite d Aix-Marseille, Marseille, France.
Public Health England, London, United Kingdom.
Department of Medical Microbiology, Vaccine and Infectious Diseases Institute, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium.


BackgroundThe ongoing outbreak of the recently emerged novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) poses a challenge for public health laboratories as virus isolates are unavailable while there is growing evidence that the outbreak is more widespread than initially thought, and international spread through travellers does already occur.AimWe aimed to develop and deploy robust diagnostic methodology for use in public health laboratory settings without having virus material available.MethodsHere we present a validated diagnostic workflow for 2019-nCoV, its design relying on close genetic relatedness of 2019-nCoV with SARS coronavirus, making use of synthetic nucleic acid technology.ResultsThe workflow reliably detects 2019-nCoV, and further discriminates 2019-nCoV from SARS-CoV. Through coordination between academic and public laboratories, we confirmed assay exclusivity based on 297 original clinical specimens containing a full spectrum of human respiratory viruses. Control material is made available through European Virus Archive - Global (EVAg), a European Union infrastructure project.ConclusionThe present study demonstrates the enormous response capacity achieved through coordination of academic and public laboratories in national and European research networks.


2019-nCoV; RT-PCR; Wuhan; diagnostics; laboratory; novel coronavirus; outbreak; testing

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