Few Co-Infections Found With COVID-19 Patients

Younger coronavirus patients found infected with rhinovirus enterovirus
woman sick
(Coronavirus Today)

A research brief published by the University of Chicago Medicine suggests that infection with other respiratory pathogens is uncommon among patients diagnosed with COVID-19 disease.

The most common respiratory panel pathogens found by the University of Chicago Medicine researchers were rhinovirus/enterovirus (7.1%).

‘Our results suggest that infection with other respiratory pathogens is uncommon among patients with COVID-19,’ stated these researchers on July 3, 2020.

Notably, the median age of co-infected patients was nearly 20 years younger than those only infected with SARS-CoV-2.’

‘This observation is consistent with established literature that community-acquired viral co-infections are more common in the younger population.’ 

‘The difference in co-infection frequency from recently published reports may be partially explained by seasonal and geographic variability in respiratory pathogens.’

During the observed period, 2,535 specimens were simultaneously tested for SARS-CoV-2. 

The overwhelming majority of tests were collected in the Emergency Department (47.9%).

Overall, 459 (18.1%) were positive for SARS-CoV-2 and 364 (14.4%) were positive for at least one nasopharyngeal (RP) pathogen. 

The most common RP pathogens found were rhinovirus/enterovirus (7.1%), influenza A (2.1%), coronavirus NL63 (2.1%), and human metapneumovirus (2.0%).

Of the specimens positive for SARS-CoV-2, 15 (3.3%) were also positive for at least one RP pathogen. 

Patients co-infected with SARS-CoV-2 and an RP pathogen were significantly younger (39) than those with only SARS-CoV-2 infection (58). 

These co-infections were most common with rhinovirus/enterovirus (53%). 

Of those negative for SARS-CoV-2, 349 (16.8%) were positive for at least one RP pathogen and 33 (1.8%) were positive for two or more RP pathogens.

‘As rates of infection due to influenza and other seasonal respiratory pathogens continue to decline into summer, we would expect co-infections among patients with COVID-19 to decrease as well.”

‘While further evaluation of different institutional and regional experiences is needed to improve testing algorithms, our results support this use of RPs to risk stratify symptomatic people where widespread SARS-CoV-2 testing may still not be available’ concluded these researchers.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued Interim Guidelines for COVID-19 Antibody Testing in Clinical and Public Health Settings.

And, the U.S. FDA has published the Coronavirus Testing Basics to provide information about the different types of tests available and the steps involved in obtaining results. 

No conflicts of interest were disclosed by these University of Chicago researchers.

CoronavirusToday publishes COVID-19 diagnostic news.