NEW YORK, April 16 – Scientists have successfully identified a coronavirus as the cause of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, the World Health Organization announced today.
A total of 13 laboratories from 10 countries collaborated to satisfy Koch’s postulates, a series of four tests for verifying whether a virus is a causative agent. The tests are:
-- it must be found in all cases of the disease,
-- it must be isolated from the host and grown in pure culture,
-- it must reproduce the original disease when introduced into a susceptible host,
-- and it must be found in the experimental host so infected.
The pathogen was originally identified as a member of coronavirus family in the lab of Joe DeRisi of the University of California, San Francisco, using a novel microarray his group has developed for the quick identification of viruses. DeRisi's lab conducted the test starting on Saturday, March 22, with results available the next day.
Since then, scientists have sequenced the virus genome and posted it publicly, in an impressive display of scientific cooperation and speed in response to a global health threat.
Research entities are working to develop an accurate diagnostic test for the virus and possible vaccinations.
GenomeWeb coverage of SARS
Canadian Team Sequencing SARS Virus (Apr 9, 2003)
CDC Hails SARS Virus Sequencing, Discusses PCR Diagnostic Development (Apr 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)