24 March 2005
Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is caused by a new coronavirus. Genomic sequence analysis will provide the molecular epidemiology and help to develop vaccines.
We developed a rapid method to amplify and sequence the whole SARS-CoV genome from clinical specimens. The technique employed one-step multiplex RT-PCR to amplify the whole SARS-CoV genome, and then nested PCR was performed to amplify a 2-kb region separately. The PCR products were sequenced.
We sequenced the genomes of SARS-CoV from 3 clinical specimens obtained in Taiwan. The sequences were similar to those reported by other groups, except that 17 single nucleotide variations and two 2-nucleotide deletions, and a 1-nucleotide deletion were found. All the variations in the clinical specimens did not alter the amino acid sequence. Of these 17 sequenced variants, two loci (positions 26203 and 27812) were segregated together as a specific genotype-T:T or C:C. Phylogenetic analysis showed two major clusters of SARS patients in Taiwan.