gms | German Medical Science

International Conference on SARS - one year after the (first) outbreak

08. - 11.05.2004, Lübeck

Genomic features and diagnosis of SARS-associated coronavirus


Search Medline for

  • corresponding author presenting/speaker Jing Wang - Beijing Genomics Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China; College of Life Sciences, Peking University, Beijing, China
  • Ling Yang - Beijing Genomics Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China

International Conference on SARS - one year after the (first) outbreak. Lübeck, 08.-11.05.2004. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2004. Doc04sars4.01

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published: May 26, 2004

© 2004 Wang et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



The genomics research of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-associated Coronavirus (SARS-CoV) provides essential information for development of SARS diagnosis and SARS vaccines. BGI* has been devoting herself to SARS-CoV sequencing, genomic analysis, and diagnosis research. We have sequenced nearly 100 SARS-CoV isolates with over 20X coverage. Based on the complete genome sequence of isolate BJ01 of SARS-CoV from Beijing, China [1], we analyzed the genomic features of the SARS-CoV in comparison with other 41 published SARS-CoV genome sequences. We identified 338 substitution sites, most of which are located in the coding region [2]. The ratio of Ka/Ks in SARS-CoV genome is higher than that of the most genes in HIV and influenza viruses, in which selection and adaptation are both playing significant roles in changing the rate of non-synonymous substitutions, especially for the structural proteins that are the targets of the host immune systems [3]. To identify epitopic sites, 41 peptides were synthesized on the basis of bioinformatics predictions. Their immunoreactivities with SARS patient sera were determined by Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA). Five antigenic peptides from SARS-CoV structural proteins were identified, which would contribute to our understanding of immunogenicity and persistence of SARS-CoV [4]. We have developed an ELISA kit using whole virus lysate as coating antigen on the microwell for detection of antibodies against SARS-CoV. The ELISA kit, as the first and the only SFDA#-approved ELISA diagnostic kit in China, has been widely used in Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Because PCR-based assay could facilitate early detection of SARS cases, the real-time fluorescent quantitative PCR (FQ-PCR) kit has also been developed and its high sensitivity in detecting blood-borne viral RNAs was confirmed by analysis of 376 blood samples from 135 SARS patients at different stages [5].

* BGI: Beijing Genomics Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences

# SFDA: Chinese State Food and Drug Administration


Wang J, Li W, Xu ZY, et al., A complete sequence and comparative analysis of a SARS-associated virus (Isolate BJ01), Chinese Science Bulletin, 2003, 48: 941-948
Hu JF, Wang J, Xu J, et al., Evolution and Variation of the SARS-CoV Genome, Genomics, Proteomics & Bioinformatics, 2003, 1: 216-225
Bi SL, Qin ED, Xu ZY, et al., Complete Genome Sequences of the SARS-CoV: the BJ Group (Isolates BJ01-BJ04), Genomics, Proteomics & Bioinformatics, 2003, 1: 180-192
Wang JQ, Wen J, Li JX, et al., Assessment of Immunoreactive Synthetic Peptides from the Structural Proteins of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus, Clinical Chemistry, 2003, 49: 1989-1996
Chen WJ, Xu ZY, Mu JS, et al., Antibody response and viraemia during the course of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-associated coronavirus infection, Journal of Medical Microbiology, 2004, 53: 1-4