Rapid establishment of laboratory diagnostics for the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 in Bavaria, Germany, February 2020

Euro Surveill. 2020 Mar;25(9):2000173. doi: 10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2020.25.9.2000173.


The need for timely establishment of diagnostic assays arose when Germany was confronted with the first travel-associated outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in Europe. We describe our laboratory experiences during a large contact tracing investigation, comparing previously published real-time RT-PCR assays in different PCR systems and a commercial kit. We found that assay performance using the same primers and probes with different PCR systems varied and the commercial kit performed well.

Keywords: COVID-19; Corona Virus; Infectious disease; Laboratory Diagnostics; Molecular Testing; Real-Time PCR; SARS-CoV-2; outbreaks.

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus* / genetics
  • Betacoronavirus* / isolation & purification
  • COVID-19
  • COVID-19 Testing
  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • Clinical Laboratory Techniques*
  • Coronavirus Infections* / diagnosis
  • Coronavirus Infections* / genetics
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Pneumonia, Viral* / diagnosis
  • Pneumonia, Viral* / genetics
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods*
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Time Factors
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / analysis
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / genetics
  • Workflow


  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • Covid-19 aAPC vaccine
  • Viral Envelope Proteins