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Broad respiratory testing to identify SARS-CoV-2 viral co-circulation and inform diagnostic stewardship in the COVID-19 pandemic

Overview of attention for article published in Virology Journal, May 2021
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (81st percentile)

Mentioned by

17 tweeters


7 Dimensions

Readers on

54 Mendeley
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Broad respiratory testing to identify SARS-CoV-2 viral co-circulation and inform diagnostic stewardship in the COVID-19 pandemic
Published in
Virology Journal, May 2021
DOI 10.1186/s12985-021-01545-9
Pubmed ID

Natalie C. Marshall, Ruwandi M. Kariyawasam, Nathan Zelyas, Jamil N. Kanji, Mathew A. Diggle


SARS-CoV-2 infection can present with a broad clinical differential that includes many other respiratory viruses; therefore, accurate tests are crucial to distinguish true COVID-19 cases from pathogens that do not require urgent public health interventions. Co-circulation of other respiratory viruses is largely unknown during the COVID-19 pandemic but would inform strategies to rapidly and accurately test patients with respiratory symptoms. This study retrospectively examined 298,415 respiratory specimens collected from symptomatic patients for SARS-CoV-2 testing in the three months since COVID-19 was initially documented in the province of Alberta, Canada (March-May, 2020). By focusing on 52,285 specimens that were also tested with the Luminex Respiratory Pathogen Panel for 17 other pathogens, this study examines the prevalence of 18 potentially co-circulating pathogens and their relative rates in prior years versus since COVID-19 emerged, including four endemic coronaviruses. SARS-CoV-2 was identified in 2.2% of all specimens. Parallel broad multiplex testing detected additional pathogens in only 3.4% of these SARS-CoV-2-positive specimens: significantly less than in SARS-CoV-2-negative specimens (p < 0.0001), suggesting very low rates of SARS-CoV-2 co-infection. Furthermore, the overall co-infection rate was significantly lower among specimens with SARS-CoV-2 detected (p < 0.0001). Finally, less than 0.005% of all specimens tested positive for both SARS-CoV-2 and any of the four endemic coronaviruses tested, strongly suggesting neither co-infection nor cross-reactivity between these coronaviruses. Broad respiratory pathogen testing rarely detected additional pathogens in SARS-CoV-2-positive specimens. While helpful to understand co-circulation of respiratory viruses causing similar symptoms as COVID-19, ultimately these broad tests were resource-intensive and inflexible in a time when clinical laboratories face unprecedented demand for respiratory virus testing, with further increases expected during influenza season. A transition from broad, multiplex tests toward streamlined diagnostic algorithms targeting respiratory pathogens of public health concern could simultaneously reduce the overall burden on clinical laboratories while prioritizing testing of pathogens of public health importance. This is particularly valuable with ongoing strains on testing resources, exacerbated during influenza seasons.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 17 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 54 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 54 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Researcher 9 17%
Student > Master 4 7%
Lecturer > Senior Lecturer 3 6%
Student > Bachelor 3 6%
Other 2 4%
Other 7 13%
Unknown 26 48%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 9 17%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 6 11%
Immunology and Microbiology 3 6%
Nursing and Health Professions 3 6%
Veterinary Science and Veterinary Medicine 1 2%
Other 6 11%
Unknown 26 48%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 11. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 30 May 2021.
All research outputs
of 21,842,516 outputs
Outputs from Virology Journal
of 2,942 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 340,811 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Virology Journal
of 1 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 21,842,516 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done well and is in the 87th percentile: it's in the top 25% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 2,942 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 25.3. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 91% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 340,811 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done well, scoring higher than 81% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 1 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has scored higher than all of them