Navigation Links
Researchers recreate SARS virus, open door for potential defenses against future strains
Date:11/25/2008

CHAPEL HILL Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Vanderbilt University Medical Center have synthetically reconstructed the bat variant of the SARS coronavirus (CoV) that caused the SARS epidemic of 2003.

The scientists say designing and synthesizing the virus is a major step forward in their ability to find effective vaccines and treatments for any strain of SARS virus that might affect humans in the future.

A report of the work is due to appear in the latest Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition, which publishes papers online and later in print.

"Only three other teams of researchers have synthetically reconstructed a virus. In this case we reconstructed the likely progenitor of the SARS-CoV epidemic," said Ralph Baric, Ph.D., epidemiology professor at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and one of the leaders on the project. "The bat SARS virus is about four times larger than any other virus that has been synthesized to date. It will allow us to test the pathways in which the virus emerges and understand the ways that animal coronaviruses move from one species to another."

Baric and his team of epidemiology researchers worked with counterparts at Vanderbilt University Medical Center led by Mark Denison, M.D., professor of microbiology and pediatrics. The two teams collaborated closely to review the existing sequences of all bat SARS viruses; predict the actual sequence of the bat SARS-CoV that would be able to grow; design the synthesis of the genome; and recover and characterize the viruses that were synthetically reconstructed and rescued in the laboratory. They also studied the pathogenesis and the ability of therapeutics targeting epidemic strains to cure bat SARS-CoV infection.

SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) is believed to have first emerged humans in Asia in late 2002. Over the next several months, the illness spread to more than two dozen countries in North America, South America, Europe and Asia before the global outbreak was contained. Of the more than 8,000 people worldwide who were diagnosed with SARS in 2003, 774 died.

Baric said SARS is believed to have originated in bats, and "jumped" to humans either directly or through raccoon dogs and palm civets, both considered delicacies for humans in China.

"Although the strains associated with the 2002-2003 epidemic no longer circulate in humans, the animal precursor strains are common and will likely re-emerge in the future," he said. "The key problem is that many of the vaccines and therapeutics targeting the 2002-2003 epidemic strains may not work against future emergent strains."

Baric said synthesizing the SARS co-variant that infects bats and then modifying it so that it can grow well in laboratory animals will allow researchers to search for vaccines and treatments that would be effective against any strain of SARS that might infect humans in the future. Viruses that start in animals and mutate to infect humans tend to be slightly different each year. An example is the influenza virus, which is different each year and requires a different vaccine each year to provide immunity.

"By reconstructing the synthetic bat SARS virus, we have a model that will allow us to design better vaccines and drugs that will treat any strain of this virus that infects humans," Baric said.

The value of the research goes beyond SARS, he added.

"Potentially, we can apply this technology to many other emerging viruses," he said. "Then, perhaps we wouldn't have to develop a new therapy each year, but can find treatments that will be effective against all of the root viruses."


'/>"/>

Contact: Patric Lane
patric_lane@unc.edu
919-962-8596
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Key link in how plants adapt to climate discovered by Stanford researchers
2. Grays Paradox solved: Researchers discover secret of speedy dolphins
3. Ants may help researchers unlock mysteries of human aging process
4. Household exposure to toxic chemicals lurks unrecognized, researchers find
5. Soybean grant gives researchers tools to unravel better bean
6. Researchers shed new light on catalyzed reactions
7. Researchers at IRB Barcelona produce more data on key genes in diabetes
8. Pitt researchers use fluorescence to develop method for detecting mercury in fish
9. Caltech researchers get first 3-D glimpse of bacterial cell-wall architecture
10. Mayo researchers identify dangerous two-faced protein crucial to breast cancer spread and growth
11. Researchers find link between nicotine addiction and autism
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/26/2016)... and LONDON , April 26, ... of EdgeVerve Systems, a product subsidiary of Infosys ... announced a partnership to integrate the Onegini mobile ...      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20151104/283829LOGO ) ... customers enhanced security to access and transact across ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... -- Research and Markets has announced the ...  report to their offering.  ,      ... gait biometrics market is expected to grow at ... Gait analysis generates multiple variables such ... compute factors that are not or cannot be ...
(Date:3/31/2016)... PROVIDENCE, R.I. , March 31, 2016  Genomics ... leadership of founding CEO, Barrett Bready , M.D., ... addition, members of the original technical leadership team, including ... Vice President of Product Development, Steve Nurnberg and Vice ... have returned to the company. Dr. Bready ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... A person commits a crime, and the detective ... the criminal down. An outbreak of foodborne illness ... (FDA) uses DNA evidence to track down the bacteria that ... It,s not. The FDA has increasingly used a complex, cutting-edge ... illnesses. Put as simply as possible, whole genome sequencing is ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016   EpiBiome , a precision ... million in debt financing from Silicon Valley Bank (SVB). ... and to advance its drug development efforts, as well ... "SVB has been an incredible strategic partner ... a traditional bank would provide," said Dr. Aeron ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... BEACH, Calif. , June 23, 2016  Blueprint ... new biological discoveries to the medical community, has closed ... co-founder Matthew Nunez . "We have ... us with the capital we need to meet our ... will essentially provide us the runway to complete validation ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... line of intelligent tools designed, tuned and optimized exclusively for Okuma CNC machining ... Chicago. The result of a collaboration among several companies with expertise in toolholding, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: