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      Characterization and Complete Genome Sequence of a Novel Coronavirus, Coronavirus HKU1, from Patients with Pneumonia

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          ABSTRACT

          Despite extensive laboratory investigations in patients with respiratory tract infections, no microbiological cause can be identified in a significant proportion of patients. In the past 3 years, several novel respiratory viruses, including human metapneumovirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus (SARS-CoV), and human coronavirus NL63, were discovered. Here we report the discovery of another novel coronavirus, coronavirus HKU1 (CoV-HKU1), from a 71-year-old man with pneumonia who had just returned from Shenzhen, China. Quantitative reverse transcription-PCR showed that the amount of CoV-HKU1 RNA was 8.5 to 9.6 × 10 6 copies per ml in his nasopharyngeal aspirates (NPAs) during the first week of the illness and dropped progressively to undetectable levels in subsequent weeks. He developed increasing serum levels of specific antibodies against the recombinant nucleocapsid protein of CoV-HKU1, with immunoglobulin M (IgM) titers of 1:20, 1:40, and 1:80 and IgG titers of <1:1,000, 1:2,000, and 1:8,000 in the first, second and fourth weeks of the illness, respectively. Isolation of the virus by using various cell lines, mixed neuron-glia culture, and intracerebral inoculation of suckling mice was unsuccessful. The complete genome sequence of CoV-HKU1 is a 29,926-nucleotide, polyadenylated RNA, with G+C content of 32%, the lowest among all known coronaviruses with available genome sequence. Phylogenetic analysis reveals that CoV-HKU1 is a new group 2 coronavirus. Screening of 400 NPAs, negative for SARS-CoV, from patients with respiratory illness during the SARS period identified the presence of CoV-HKU1 RNA in an additional specimen, with a viral load of 1.13 × 10 6 copies per ml, from a 35-year-old woman with pneumonia. Our data support the existence of a novel group 2 coronavirus associated with pneumonia in humans.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Journal of Virology
          JVI
          American Society for Microbiology
          0022-538X
          1098-5514
          January 15 2005
          January 15 2005
          : 79
          : 2
          : 884-895
          Affiliations
          [1 ] Department of Microbiology
          [2 ] State Key Laboratory of Emerging Infectious Diseases, The University of Hong Kong
          [3 ] Division of Respiratory Medicine, Department of Medicine, United Christian Hospital
          [4 ] Department of Microbiology, Tseung Kwan O Hospital, Hong Kong
          Article
          10.1128/JVI.79.2.884-895.2005
          538593
          15613317
          62eb3b69-d9cc-425e-9bd8-07c3f28c44f3
          © 2005
          Product
          Self URI (article page): https://JVI.asm.org/content/79/2/884

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