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Virus: Further Research

The completed genomic sequence show that although the SARS-CoV displays clear features of a typical coronavirus, there are also features that place it in a new category, far from all the previous coronaviruses. Thus, the WHO (World Health Organization) named it the 'novel' coronavirus.

The completion of the genomic sequence in just a few weeks have opened many doors in development of vaccines, antiviral compounds, diagnostic tests and ways to control the spread of SARS. The genomic sequence has also helped tremendously in identifying the origin of the virus.

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Stability and resistance

Researchers have evaluated the SARS-CoV's stability and resistance to environmental factors and disinfectants. For 21 days in temperatures at 4°C and -80°C, the concentration of the virus reduced at a very minimal amount. This indicates that the virus is more stable than other human coronaviruses. Yet, when heated to 56°C, the SARS-CoV becomes inactive. The same happens when the SARS-CoV reacts to commonly used disinfectants.

Natural host

In Hong Kong and Shenzhen, researchers have studied six civets from a southern Chinese market, and discovered that the coronaviruses found in these animals, were almost identical to the SARS coronaviruses in humans. The coronavirus were detected by a PCR molecular technique. More specifically, the SARS coronaviruses were found in the serum where SARS growth took place. The only difference between the coronaviruses in humans and in the animals was a small additional sequence in the animals.

Because of this revelation, thousands of civet cats are being destroyed in China, against WHO's (World Health Organization) wishes. The WHO was dismayed because the civets cats could provide further research on the virus, yet China fears further spreading.


  • SARS Quiz
    In this quiz you will find questions based on the information available in Basic Guide, Virus and Prevention.

  • Crossword puzzle 2: Virus
    Online crossword puzzle based on Virus.

  • SARS Quest - Averting An Outbreak
    In this short Flash game, you will be taking on the role of the Health Minister of the imaginary country of Asitwon. Your aim is to use all necessary means to prevent a SARS outbreak in the country.


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