Relative rates of non-pneumonic SARS coronavirus infection and SARS coronavirus pneumonia

Patrick C Y WooKwok-yung Yuen


Although the genome of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) has been sequenced and a possible animal reservoir identified, seroprevalence studies and mass screening for detection of subclinical and non-pneumonic infections are still lacking. We cloned and purified the nucleocapsid protein and spike polypeptide of SARS-CoV and examined their immunogenicity with serum from patients with SARS-CoV pneumonia. An ELISA based on recombinant nucleocapsid protein for IgG detection was tested with serum from 149 healthy blood donors who donated 3 years previously and with serum positive for antibodies against SARS-CoV (by indirect immunofluorescence assay) from 106 patients with SARS-CoV pneumonia. The seroprevalence of SARS-CoV was studied with the ELISA in healthy blood donors who donated during the SARS outbreak in Hong Kong, non-pneumonic hospital inpatients, and symptom-free health-care workers. All positive samples were confirmed by two separate western-blot assays (with recombinant nucleocapsid protein and recombinant spike polypeptide). Western-blot analysis showed that the nucleocapsid protein and spike polypeptide of SARS-CoV are highly immunogenic. The specificity of the IgG antibody test (ELISA with positi...Continue Reading


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