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J Clin Virol. 2003 Dec;28(3):239-44.

SARS-coronavirus replicates in mononuclear cells of peripheral blood (PBMCs) from SARS patients.

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Key Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, Ministry of Public Health of China, Institute of Infectious Diseases, First Affiliated Hospital, Medical College, Zhejiang University, Qingchun Road 79, Hangzhou, Zhejiang 310003, China.



The etiologic agent of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is a recently identified, positive single-stranded RNA (ssRNA) coronavirus (SARS-CoV). Little is known about the dynamic changes of the viral replicative form in SARS cases.


Evaluate whether SARS-CoV can infect and replicate in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of infected persons and reveal any dynamic changes to the virus during the course of the disease.


Peripheral blood mononuclear cells collected from SARS cases infected by the same infectious source were tested for both negative-stranded RNA (minus-RNA, "replicative intermediates") and positive-stranded RNA (genomic RNA) of SARS-CoV during the course of hospitalization by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).


SARS-CoV minus-RNA was detected in PBMCs from SARS patients. The viral replicative forms in PBMCs were detectable during a period of 6 days post-onset of the disease, while the plus-RNA were detectable for a longer period (8-12 days post-onset).


SARS-coronavirus can infect and replicate within PBMCs of SARS patients, but viral replication in PBMCs seems subject to self-limitation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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