Coronavirus spread - Researchers have developed the first test for the pathogen

Coronavirus spread - Researchers have developed the first test for the pathogen

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First test developed for the novel corona virus

A new type of corona virus has been spreading in China since last December. The pathogen is spreading increasingly in Asia and has meanwhile also reached the USA. Hundreds of people infected and several deaths have been reported. A German research team has now successfully developed a first test for the novel virus.

According to a recent announcement, a team from the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF) at the Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin has developed a detection method for the corona virus currently circulating in China. The World Health Organization (WHO) has now published the test protocol as the first diagnostic guide to date. Suspected cases can now be quickly checked for the new virus.

Infections already claimed the first human lives

As the Federal Foreign Office writes on its website, several cases of lung disease have occurred in Wuhan City, Hubei Province (China) since December 2019, which are likely related to a visit to a local poultry and fish market. Later, an infection with a new type of corona virus was detected.

The number of cases is currently increasing and there have also been isolated deaths. Diseases in the Chinese province of Guangdong and Beijing as well as in Thailand, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan have also been documented. And only recently has the pathogen reached the USA.

The Chinese authorities have since confirmed several human-to-human transmissions, as well as a dozen cases of illness among medical personnel, reports the Robert Koch Institute (RKI).

Thanks to the German research team, the novel corona virus can now be detected in the laboratory.

Important step to fight the new virus

According to the information, the working group led by Professor Dr. Christian Drosten, Director of the Institute of Virology at the Charité Mitte campus, developed and made available the world's first diagnostic test as part of her work at the DZIF.

The WHO has published the test protocol online as the first guide for laboratories. As stated in the release, an international consortium is currently testing the test.

"I am assuming that the wide availability of the diagnostic test will help in a short time to clarify suspicious cases without any doubt and to determine whether a human-to-human transmission of the new virus is possible," explains Prof. Drosten. "This is an important step towards combating the new virus." (Ad)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin: Joint press release by Charité and DZIF: First test for the novel coronavirus in China has been developed (accessed: January 22, 2020), Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin
  • Federal Foreign Office: China: Travel and Safety Instructions, (accessed: January 22, 2020), Federal Foreign Office
  • World Health Organization (WHO): Laboratory testing for 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in suspected human cases, (accessed: 22.01.2020), World Health Organization (WHO)

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