Joseph DeRisi's laboratory at the University of California at San Francisco used microarray analysis to help identify as a coronavirus the disease that has killed almost 20 people and has spread from China and Vietnam throughout the globe, according to an article published in the San Francisco Chronicle Tuesday.
The illness, called SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) has mystified health authorities.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta said the previously unknown coro-navirus was identified over the weekend during testing conducted on samples from Vietnam, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
DeRisi, assistant professor of biochemistry and biophysics, used a microarray containing, “every known, completely sequenced virus,” the article said.
In research published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Nov. 26, 2002, DeRisi's lab described “Microarray-based detection and genotyping of viral pathogens.” The paper described a long-oligonucleotide (70-mer) microarray capable of detecting hundreds of viruses. Elements from conserved regions within viral families facilitate identification of viruses whose sequences are not on the array.