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Emerg Infect Dis. 2005 Sep;11(9):1420-4.

Molecular epidemiology of SARS-associated coronavirus, Beijing.

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Beijing Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology, Beijing, People's Republic of China.


Single nucleotide variations (SNVs) at 5 loci (17564, 21721, 22222, 23823, and 27827) were used to define the molecular epidemiologic characteristics of severe acute respiratory syndrome-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV) from Beijing patients. Five fragments targeted at the SNV loci were amplified directly from clinical samples by using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), before sequencing the amplified products. Analyses of 45 sequences obtained from 29 patients showed that the GGCTC motif dominated among samples collected from March to early April 2003; the TGTTT motif predominanted afterwards. The switch from GGCTC to TGTTT was observed among patients belonging to the same cluster, which ruled out the possibility of the coincidental superposition of 2 epidemics running in parallel in Beijing. The Beijing isolates underwent the same change pattern reported from Guangdong Province. The same series of mutations occurring in separate geographic locations and at different times suggests a dominant process of viral adaptation to the host.

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