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Emerg Infect Dis. 2004 May;10(5):789-94.

Genetic variation of SARS coronavirus in Beijing Hospital.

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Beijing Institute of Infectious Diseases, Beijing 302 Hospital, Beijing, China.


To characterize genetic variation of severe acute respiratory syndrome-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV) transmitted in the Beijing area during the epidemic outbreak of 2003, we sequenced 29 full-length S genes of SARS-CoV from 20 hospitalized SARS patients on our unit, the Beijing 302 Hospital. Viral RNA templates for the S-gene amplification were directly extracted from raw clinical samples, including plasma, throat swab, sputum, and stool, during the course of the epidemic in the Beijing area. We used a TA-cloning assay with direct analysis of nested reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction products in sequence. One hundred thirteen sequence variations with nine recurrent variant sites were identified in analyzed S-gene sequences compared with the BJ01 strain of SARS-CoV. Among them, eight variant sites were, we think, the first documented. Our findings demonstrate the coexistence of S-gene sequences with and without substitutions (compared to BJ01) in samples analyzed from some patients.

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