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Isolation and Characterization of Viruses Related to the SARS Coronavirus from Animals in Southern China

Science  10 Oct 2003:
Vol. 302, Issue 5643, pp. 276-278
DOI: 10.1126/science.1087139

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Abstract

A novel coronavirus (SCoV) is the etiological agent of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). SCoV-like viruses were isolated from Himalayan palm civets found in a live-animal market in Guangdong, China. Evidence of virus infection was also detected in other animals (including a raccoon dog, Nyctereutes procyonoides) and in humans working at the same market. All the animal isolates retain a 29-nucleotide sequence that is not found in most human isolates. The detection of SCoV-like viruses in small, live wild mammals in a retail market indicates a route of interspecies transmission, although the natural reservoir is not known.

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