oa South African Family Practice - Developments in the laboratory diagnosis of SARS - coronavirus infections : review article



A novel coronavirus, the SARS - coronavirus (SARS-CoV) is the infectious agent that has been implicated in the recent epidemic outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). This paper briefly reviews the features of the infectious agent (SARS-CoV), the outbreak and the development of an impressive array of laboratory tests in a short period of time since detection of the infectious agent. These laboratory tests are useful tools for identifying and confirming infections with the SARS-CoV. Early disease is best detected by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) based tests whilst detection of specific antibodies is the preferred diagnostic approach after 10 days of the onset symptoms.


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