What is it about?
COVID-19 is an acute respiratory illness, caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2. But other respiratory pathogens may infect patients already infected with SARS-CoV-2, including other viruses and bacteria. Monitoring such “coinfections” is important to direct treatment in patients with COVID-19. To this end, researchers in Korea tracked the occurrence of coinfections in patients with COVID-19 in 342 patients. They used typical clinical specimens and known diagnostic techniques to do so. Their findings showed that frequent infections with a single coinfecting viral agent. They also showed that coinfections with two agents were rare. They did not observe coinfection with three or more agents along with SARS-CoV-2.
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Why is it important?
The study showed that simultaneous detection of coinfecting pathogens with SARS-CoV-2 is possible. It used typical specimens and methods. Nose and throat swabs detect pathogens in the upper respiratory tract. Using these specimens is enough to detect SARS-CoV-2. But sputum from the lower respiratory tract is needed to detect coinfecting pathogens. 8.8% of COVID-19 patients in the study showed coinfection with respiratory pathogens. Viruses were the most prominent agents. The common cold causing Rhinovirus was the most recurrent one. A type of bacteria called Mycoplasma pneumoniae caused some infections. KEY TAKEAWAY: Coinfecting pathogens can complicate infection with SARS-CoV-2. Simultaneous monitoring of these pathogens can help improve treatment. Detecting these pathogens needs samples from both the upper and lower respiratory tract.
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This page is a summary of: Coinfections with Respiratory Pathogens among COVID-19 Patients in Korea, Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases and Medical Microbiology, May 2021, Hindawi Publishing Corporation,
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