Short description

This respiratory disease is caused by the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which was first identified in December 2019. COVID-19 can be almost asymptomatic or can run like a harmless cold. COVID-19 can lead to severe cases of pneumonia and acute lung failure, particularly in risk groups.

Detailed description

The viral infectious disease COVID-19 (= coronavirus disease-19) manifests itself as a respiratory disease with symptoms such as coughing, shortness of breath, fever or pneumonia. If the course of the disease is severe, it can lead to acute lung failure with fatal consequences. With increasing age and concomitant diseases, the risk of severe courses of the disease increases. The diagnosis is made using laboratory methods such as the RT-PCR test (reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction) developed by DZIF scientists, which can detect the presence of RNA of SARS-CoV-2 (= severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2) in patient samples. On January 30, 2020, the WHO initially declared a "public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC)" due to the worldwide spread of the virus. Since mid-March, COVID-19 has been classified as a pandemic. The lethality within the COVID-19 pandemic has not yet been conclusively clarified. Vaccines and antiviral drugs against COVID-19 are under development - also at DZIF.

You can find up-to-date information and behaviour rules concerning COVID-19/SARS-CoV-2 here:

Word Health Organization (WHO)

European Centre for Desease Prevention and Control (ECDC)

German Federal Government