SARS - CDC - Characterization of a Novel Coronavirus...

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/ www.sciencexpress.org / 1 May 2003 / Page 1/ 10.1126/science.1085952 In March 2003, a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV) was discovered in association with cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). The sequence of the complete genome of SARS-CoV was determined, and the initial characterization of the viral genome is presented in this report. The genome of SARS-CoV is 29,727 nucleotides in length, has 11 open reading frames, and the genome organization is similar to that of other coronaviruses. Phylogenetic analyses and sequence comparisons showed that SARS-CoV is not closely related to any of the previously characterized coronaviruses. Several hundred cases of severe, atypical pneumonia of unknown etiology were reported in Guangdong Province of the People’s Republic of China beginning in late 2002. After similar cases were detected in patients in Hong Kong, Vietnam, and Canada during February and March 2003, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a global alert for the illness, designated “severe acute respiratory syndrome” (SARS). In mid-March 2003, SARS was recognized in healthcare workers and household members who had cared for patients with severe respiratory illness in Hong Kong and Vietnam. Many of these cases could be traced through multiple chains of transmission to a healthcare worker from Guangdong Province who visited Hong Kong, where he was hospitalized with pneumonia and died. By late April 2003, over 4300 SARS cases and 250 SARS-related deaths were reported to WHO from over 25 countries around the world. Most of these cases occurred after exposure to SARS patients in household or healthcare settings. The incubation period for the disease is usually from 2 to 7 days. Infection is usually characterized by fever, which is followed a few days later by a dry, non-productive cough, and shortness of breath. Death from progressive respiratory failure occurs in about 3% to nearly 10% of cases ( 1 4 ). In response to this outbreak, WHO coordinated an international collaboration that included clinical, epidemiologic, and laboratory investigations, and initiated efforts to control the spread of SARS. Attempts to identify the etiology of the SARS outbreak were successful during the third week of March 2003, when laboratories in the United States, Canada, Germany, and Hong Kong isolated a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV) from SARS patients. Unlike other human coronaviruses, it was possible to isolate SARS-CoV in Vero cells. Evidence of SARS-CoV infection has now been documented in SARS patients throughout the world. SARS- CoV RNA has frequently been detected in respiratory specimens, and convalescent-phase serum specimens from SARS patients contain antibodies that react with SARS-CoV. There is strong evidence that this new virus is etiologically
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SARS - CDC - Characterization of a Novel Coronavirus...

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