Molecular epidemiology of the novel coronavirus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Author(s)

  • Y. Guan
  • J. S M Peiris
  • B. Zheng
  • L. L M Poon
  • K. H. Chan
  • F. Y. Zeng
  • C. W M Chan
  • M. N. Chan
  • J. D. Chen
  • K. Y C Chow
  • C. C. Hon
  • K. H. Hui
  • J. Li
  • V. Y Y Li
  • Y. Wang
  • K. Y. Yuen
  • F. C. Leung

Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-104
Journal / PublicationLancet
Volume363
Issue number9403
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2004
Externally publishedYes

Abstract

Background: Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is a newly emerged disease caused by a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV), which spread globally in early 2003, affecting over 30 countries. We have used molecular epidemiology to define the patterns of spread of the virus in Hong Kong and beyond. Methods: The case definition of SARS was based on that recommended by WHO. We genetically sequenced the gene for the S1 unit of the viral spike protein of viruses from patients with SARS in Hong Kong (138) and Guangdong (three) in February to April, 2003. We undertook phylogenetic comparisons with 27 other sequences available from public databases (Genbank). Findings: Most of the Hong Kong viruses (139/142), including those from a large outbreak in an apartment block, clustered closely together with the isolate from a single index case (HKU-33) who came from Guangdong to Hong Kong in late February. Three other isolates were genetically distinct from HKU-33 in Hong Kong during February, but none of these contributed substantially to the subsequent local outbreak. Viruses identified in Guangdong and Beijing were genetically more diverse. Interpretation: The molecular epidemiological evidence suggests that most SARS-CoV from the outbreak in Hong Kong, as well as the viruses from Canada, Vietnam, and Singapore, are genetically closely linked. Three viruses found in Hong Kong in February were phylogenetically distinct from the major cluster, which suggests that several introductions of the virus had occurred, but that only one was associated with the subsequent outbreak in Hong Kong, which in turn spread globally.

Citation Format(s)

Molecular epidemiology of the novel coronavirus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome. / Guan, Y.; Peiris, J. S M; Zheng, B.; Poon, L. L M; Chan, K. H.; Zeng, F. Y.; Chan, C. W M; Chan, M. N.; Chen, J. D.; Chow, K. Y C; Hon, C. C.; Hui, K. H.; Li, J.; Li, V. Y Y; Wang, Y.; Leung, S. W.; Yuen, K. Y.; Leung, F. C.

In: Lancet, Vol. 363, No. 9403, 10.01.2004, p. 99-104.

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review