In a significant number of cases of pneumonia and meningitis, viruses are involved as sole pathogen or in combination with bacteria. In pneumonia and lower respiratory tract infections, viruses are involved as causative pathogens in 50% of the patients (mainly in infants and in elderly people). In the case of meningitis, viruses cause the majority (70%) of all cases.
As the treatment options significantly differ for bacterial and viral infections, detecting viruses seems to be of key importance. Establishing a specific viral diagnosis may allow discontinuation of antibiotic therapy. Additionally, the availability of antiviral therapeutics can cause severe side effects, which creates the need for viral diagnostic tests.