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Molecular epidemiology of the coronavirus associated with severe acute respiratory syndrome: a review of data from the Chinese University of Hong Kong



Molecular epidemiology of the coronavirus associated with severe acute respiratory syndrome: a review of data from the Chinese University of Hong Kong



Clinical Biochemist. Reviews 25(2): 143-147



The epidemic of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) has swept through the globe with more than 8000 reported probable cases. In Hong Kong, the hardest hit areas included our teaching hospital and the Amoy Gardens apartment complex. A novel coronavirus, SARS-coronavirus (SARS-CoV), with a single-stranded plus sense RNA genome, was promptly implicated as the causative agent and subsequently fulfilled Koch's postulates. To aid the understanding of SARS-CoV, groups of investigators rapidly sequenced viral isolates around the world. We were the third group in the world to release the complete SARS-CoV genome sequence (isolate CUHK-W1) on the world-wide web. With other isolates from patients of distinct epidemiological backgrounds, we additionally sequenced four complete (CUHK-Su10, CUHK-AG01, CUHK-AG02, CUHK-AG03) and two partial SARS-CoV genomes. The reviewed data obtained from representative patients from the hospital and community outbreaks has documented the evolution of the virus in this epidemic. Their sequence variations also revealed a remarkable epidemiological correlation. We demonstrate that sequence variations in the SARS-CoV genome can be applied as a powerful molecular tool in tracing the route of transmission, when used adjunctively with standard epidemiology.

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Accession: 054441964

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PMID: 18458710


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