In December 2019, a novel coronavirus, entitled as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV‑2), emerged in Wuhan, China and spread rapidly worldwide. SARS-CoV‑2 causes respiratory illness and can spread from person to person. SARS-CoV‑2 was declared as a public health emergency of international concern by the end of January 2020. On 8 March 2020, SARS-CoV‑2 is affecting 111 countries and territories with 111,817 confirmed cases worldwide, including 3,893 fatalities. In the European Union (EU) (including the Member states of the European Economic Area (EEA) and the United Kingdom), 9,161 cases, including 251 fatalities have been reported in 27 countries, with daily rising numbers.
The WHO aggregated preliminary knowledge about the outbreak, transmission dynamics and clinical symptoms in a recent report but stresses the necessity for more in-depth research. Importantly, many knowledge gaps remain regarding best possible clinical management of patients with the infection as well as prediction and prevention of severe outcomes.
In order to record confirmed European SARS-CoV‑2 cases uniformly and to establish an evidence base for best practice in clinical management, analyses of a comprehensive SARS-CoV‑2 cohort is required and mandated by the SARS-CoV‑2 Emerging Infections Task Force (EITaF) of the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ESCMID) and the German Society of Infectious Diseases.