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Beijing Group Publishes Four SARS Sequences from Mainland China, Claims To Have One-Hour SARS Test

NEW YORK, April 21 - Joining four other teams around the globe to complete sequences of the SARS viral genome, the Beijing Genome Institute announced that it had also sequenced SARS-associated viral genomes on April 16.


Meanwhile, the Beijing Genome Institute is also said to have developed a one-hour test for SARS, based on the sequenced genome. The test uses a particular protein produced by the virus, which reacts with an antibody produced by SARS patients.


The Beijingresearchers had sequenced the genomes of four viral samples taken from patients in mainland China, according to the announcement, published in English in the Genome Institute's journal, Genomics and Proteomics Beijing, today.


The scientists involved in the project include those from the Instituteof Microbiologyand Epidemiology of the Academyof Military Medical Sciencesand the Beijing Genomics Institute, according to the announcement.


Two of the isolates came from lung tissue autopsies in deceased SARS patients, one from a patient in Beijingand one from Guangdong. The third isolate came from the liver and lymph nodes of the Beijingpatient, and the fourth came from nose and throat swabs of live patients with SARS in Beijing, the announcement said.


The group has published the sequences of this genome on its website, and said it has compared them to that obtained by a group at the British Columbia Cancer Center in Canada, and the one obtained by scientists at the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The Chinese group said it had detected  "a few nucleotide differences among individual genomes."


Groups in Hong Kongand Singaporealso announced last week they had sequenced isolates from local patients, and the Singaporegroup published its sequence online.


The SARS virus, which has been identified as a novel coronavirus, is believed to have originated in the Guangdongprovince, and to have spread to Hong Kongand then to other countries, including Canada.


Having sequences of the Guangdong and Beijing isolates, along with the Canadian, US, and other isolates, may help researchers trace the evolution of the virus or provide clues to its origin.


The Chinese government has recently revealed that there have been significantly more cases of SARS in the country than previously reported: Over 80 people have died in China, and there are 339 cases in Beijingalone, and 402 additional suspected cases, according to a Reuters report.


A five-member team from the World Health Organization arrived in Shanghaitoday to advise on measures to combat the epidemic, the report said.


GenomeWeb coverage of SARS 
Canadian Team Sequencing SARS Virus  (Apr 9, 2003)

CDC Hails SARS Virus Sequencing, Discusses PCR Diagnostic Development   (Apr 14, 2003)

CDC Completes SARS Virus Genome Draft On Heels of Canadian Team  (April 14, 2003)

Canadian Team Leader: SARS Coronavirus Genome Has 11 Novel ORFs  (April 15, 2003)
CombiMatrix Creates Microarray Based on SARS Genome Data  (April 16, 2003)
Coronavirus Linked to SARS: WHO (April 16, 2003) 

Singapore Genome Institute Joins SARS Sequencing Fray (April 16, 2003)

Singapore Team Finishes SARS Virus Genome; Canadian Scientists Identify Viral Proteins (April 17, 2003)


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