Exclusivity of 2019 novel coronavirus based on clinical samples pre-tested positive for other respiratory viruses Using the E and RdRp gene assays, we tested a total of 297 clinical samples from patients with respiratory disease from the biobanks of five laboratories that provide diagnostic services (one in Germany, two in the Netherlands, one in Hong Kong, one in the UK). We selected 198 samples from three university medical centres where patients from general and intensive care wards as well as mainly paediatric outpatient departments are seen (Germany, the Netherlands, Hong Kong). The remaining samples were contributed by national public health services performing surveillance studies (RIVM, PHE), with samples mainly submitted by practitioners. The samples contained the broadest range of respiratory agents possible and reflected the general spectrum of virus concentrations encountered in diagnostic laboratories in these countries (Table 2).
① In total, this testing yielded no false positive outcomes. ②In four individual test reactions, weak initial reactivity was seen but they were negative upon retesting with the same assay.
These signals were not associated with any particular virus, and for each virus with which initial positive reactivity occurred, there were other samples that contained the same virus at a higher concentration but did not test positive. Given the results from the extensive technical qualification described above, it was concluded that this initial reactivity was not due to chemical instability of real-time PCR probes but most probably to handling issues caused by the rapid introduction of new diagnostic tests and controls during this evaluation study.
＞ this initial reactivity was not due to chemical instability of real-time PCR probes but most probably to handling issues caused by the rapid introduction of new diagnostic tests and controls during this evaluation study.