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Affymetrix Rolls Out a SARS GeneChip

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Affymetrix this week entered the SARS arena, introducing a GeneChip- brand microarray for resequencing different isolates of the coronavirus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS.

The chip was designed using sequences published by the Canadian team at the BC Cancer Center, the US Centers for Disease Control, and those published by scientists in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Beijing, following the Canadian and US teams.

The new array includes the entire 29,700 base pairs in the virus and is designed for rapid resequencing to study possible mutations in different isolates, according to the company. This resequencing could allow scientists to categorize these isolates into subtypes, and also, in comparing the sequence to specific clinical data, understand why some strains are more dangerous than others. Epidemiologists can also use the array to track the virus' evolution over time in different populations and different areas, the company said.

This array is part of Affymetrix’s CustomSeq line of arrays for pathogens and other applications.

“We hope that by getting this powerful CustomSeq array into the hands of scientists, we can contribute to understanding SARS and the search for treatments,” Greg Yap, senior marketing director, DNA Analysis, at Affymetrix, said in a statement.

Combimatrix also has a SARS microarray, and other companies offer PCR diagnostic kits for SARS.

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