Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS): Development of Diagnostics and Antivirals

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The previously unknown coronavirus that caused severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS-CoV) affected more than 8,000 persons worldwide and was responsible for more than 700 deaths during the first outbreak in 2002–2003. For reasons unknown, the SARS virus is less severe and the clinical progression a great deal milder in children younger than 12 years of age. In contrast, the mortality rate can exceed 50% for persons at or above the age of 60. As part of the Sino-European Project on SARS Diagnostics and Antivirals (SEPSDA), an immune phage-display library is being created from convalescent patients in a phagemid system for the selection of single-chain fragment variables (scFv) antibodies recognizing the SARS-CoV.

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