Virus variation found in suspected SARS case

The results of a gene sequencing test show the coronavirus found in the suspected severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) case in Guangzhou is a virus variation with new sequence, according to the Center for Disease Prevention and Control in southern China's Guangdong Province Friday evening.

That's to say, it is possible that the man with the suspected case of SARS in the province have contracted SARS, according to the center.

The center had carried out a series of tests on the case. Usingthe method of reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), scientists obtained S, M and N genes of coronavirus from thesuspect.

Comparing the sequences of the gene section with all those of the SARS coronavirus published by the international gene bank, experts found that 98.8 to 99.4 percent of 3,768 bases of S gene obtained from the suspect, 99 percent of 658 bases of M gene, and 99 percent of 1,068 bases of N gene, are isogenous with those of S,M and N genes published by the gene bank.

"The results point to the possibility of the suspect infected by SARS coronavirus, but our sequence test shows that the S gene is a new sequence that has not been published," said Dr. Chen Qiuxia with the center.

Prof. Zhong Nanshan, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, also said the test result showed a possibility that the SARS coronavirus has a variation.

Both Chinese experts and World Health Organization experts haveadopted a prudent approach to the final diagnosis of the case while generally agreeing to the results of the tests, Zhong said. 

"But the wait will continue in the final diagnosis of the suspected SARS case because the infection channel and infectivity remained unknown," he added.

The 32-year-old freelance TV station worker is the first suspected SARS case in Guangdong since May 23, 2003, when the World Health Organization lifted the SARS-related travel advisory against the province.

Source: Xinhua



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