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Posted: 5/3/2003 3:34:59 PM EDT
HONG KONG (May 3) - Like a ``murderer who is trying to change his fingerprints,'' the SARS virus is mutating rapidly into at least two forms, complicating efforts to develop a solid diagnosis and a vaccine, researchers say. Scientists at the Chinese University of Hong Kong say they analyzed the genetic sequences of virus samples taken from 11 SARS patients and found by late March that two forms of the virus were present in Hong Kong. One strain was detected in a woman whose illness was linked to an outbreak caused by a mainland Chinese man who spread SARS to others at a Hong Kong hotel. The other strain came from a Hong Kong man believed to have caught it in the mainland border city of Shenzhen. ``This rapid evolution is like that of a murderer who is trying to change his fingerprints or even his appearance to try to escape detection,'' said Dr. Dennis Lo, a chemical pathologist at the university. But while Lo said researchers have shown ``the SARS coronavirus is undergoing rapid evolution in our population,'' he noted more work is needed before researchers can say whether the virus has become more infectious and lethal. Researchers also need to find out whether people who get SARS from one strain can develop immunity to other strains, he said. If not, finding ways to better diagnose it and to develop a vaccine could be more difficult. The World Health Organization says there's no evidence that the mutations have any effect on the disease itself. WHO scientists also say it's not surprising the SARS bug shows genetic changes, because the coronavirus family is prone to mutations. A U.S. coronavirus expert, David Brian, at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, agreed that a rapidly mutating SARS virus could complicate work toward a vaccine and reliable diagnostic tests. The crucial question is where the mutations occur in the SARS virus genome, he said. If they affect the shape of an outer protein on the virus, it could hamper vaccines, which rely on training the immune system to recognize particular protein shapes, he said. Diagnosis, meanwhile, is based on specific features of the bug's genetic sequence. So if one of the crucial features is removed by mutation, the detection kit becomes less sensitive to recognizing the virus, he said. Hong Kong scientists are also concerned that the virus may survive in an infected person's body for at least a month after recovery. Doctors are urging patients to avoid personal contact such as hugging and kissing when they go home. ``The virus still exists in the patients' urine and stool after they were discharged. It will persist for at least another month or maybe even longer,'' said Dr. Joseph Sung, head of the Department of Medicine at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. What's more, scientists here also fear that 12 people may have relapsed. The new findings raise questions as to how doctors can tell whether a patient has fully recovered, underscoring the difficulty health authorities face in tackling this new disease. Sung, who works at the Prince of Wales Hospital, which was hard-hit by SARS, has monitored the cases of about 240 recovered SARS patients. He said none has spread the disease to others. If recovered patients wear masks, avoid close contact with family members and are particularly careful about toilet hygiene, things should be ``quite safe'' in their households, he said. Sung believes the virus can survive in the environment longer than a day. ``If your saliva gets on a table surface, don't assume that it will be all right after it dries up,'' he said. Dr. David Heymann, WHO's chief of communicable diseases, said the relapses are disappointing, and it's not clear what caused them. He said he hadn't heard of similar reports outside Hong Kong. ``We don't yet have the data ... as to exactly what has happened, what these people were treated with,'' Heymann said. He said one theory is that some relapses may have happened because patients stopped taking steroids too quickly. The steroid therapy is being prescribed in Hong Kong. Heymann said in some other infectious diseases, it's not uncommon to find virus in body excretions after a patient's symptoms are gone. ``So it's not a new phenomenon that viruses remain, but certainly a relapse is concerning,'' he said. 05/03/03 10:36 EDT Copyright 2003 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. All active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.
Link Posted: 5/3/2003 3:39:00 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/3/2003 3:40:59 PM EDT by Red_Beard]
here's another one:
SARS cases pass 6,000; more than 400 dead By Michael Smith UPI Science News From the Science & Technology Desk Published 5/2/2003 8:13 PM TORONTO, May 2 (UPI) -- The number of SARS cases continued to rise Friday, reaching more than 6,000, as a Hong Kong researcher reported that the virus linked to the disease appears to be changing rapidly. The global total of probable and confirmed cases of the pneumonia-like disease reached 6,054, according to the World Health Organization, up 207 since Thursday. The global outbreak has now claimed 417 lives, up 26 from a day earlier. Meanwhile, researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong say they have evidence that the so-called "coronavirus" associated with severe atypical respiratory syndrome, or SARS, is mutating rapidly. Pathology professor Dennis Lo said genetic sequences of the virus found in 11 patients showed that there were at least two variants circulating in the region. The coronavirus "is undergoing rapid evolution in our population," Lo said. Whether that's good or bad is an open question, he said: "It can either change it into a more virulent virus (or) on the other hand it can make it into a tamer virus." Microbiologist Don Low of Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital, one of the leaders of the SARS fight in the Canadian city, said he has seen no evidence that the virus is mutating but wouldn't be surprised if it was. "It's an RNA virus, so it doesn't have a repair system," he told United Press International. That means that errors that creep in as the virus multiplies aren't corrected and thus are passed on to new generations. But Low said, usually those errors are "bad for the organism," making it less able to survive and perhaps less dangerous to humans. He cautioned that even if the virus changes so that it causes less severe disease, that might not be a good thing -- people might not get sick enough to go to a hospital and therefore would spread SARS more easily. Toronto officials criticized U.S. news reports that suggested Canada had delayed reporting a case of SARS in order to help its case that the WHO warning against travelling to Toronto should be lifted, which happened earlier this week. "It's total, utter, and complete nonsense," said Colin D'Cuhna, the chief medical officer for the Canadian province of Ontario. Toronto is the capital of Ontario. D'Cuhna told UPI that Canada has reported all of its probable cases -- those in which there's X-ray evidence of SARS infection -- as soon as possible and didn't hide anything from the world body. In fact, he said, WHO officials were in Canada this week for an international meeting on the progress of the SARS battle and made no complaints about how the Canadians had handled their outbreak. Toronto, said D'Cuhna, is "on the cusp" of defeating the disease and being taken off the WHO list of affected areas, which currently includes China, Canada, Taiwan, and 24 other countries. China continues to be the hardest hit, with 176 new probable SARS cases Friday, 96 of them in Beijing. Eleven new deaths were reported, accounting for a cumulative total of 181 deaths. The Chinese government sees no quick end to the outbreak in Beijing, even as officials opened a new hospital -- built in just eight days -- to cope with SARS. The deputy director of the city's health department, Liang Wannian, said similar numbers of new cases -- about 100 a day -- can be expected for the foreseeable future. "I think it will take us a long time to eliminate this disease," he said. But he said the outbreak might be stabilizing and "I believe the number of patients will drop in the future, but it is hard to say when." WHO said China might still not be protecting its health-care workers well enough, suggesting that infection control -- outside of designated SARS hospitals -- is still not effective and "may need to be modified." Among front-line health workers, 15 new cases were reported in Beijing. There are now 300 infected health care workers in China. Copyright © 2001-2003 United Press International
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400/6000 ~ 6.66% [devil]
Link Posted: 5/3/2003 3:45:15 PM EDT
This is gonna cause problems too:
Hong Kong scientists are also concerned that the virus may survive in an infected person's body for at least a month after recovery. Doctors are urging patients to avoid personal contact such as hugging and kissing when they go home.
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What about all the people who never got sick enough to go to the hospital? They are going around infecting everyone even after they think they are well enough to go back to work.
Link Posted: 5/3/2003 3:48:02 PM EDT
Link Posted: 5/3/2003 3:49:57 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/3/2003 3:50:11 PM EDT by Red_Beard]
Originally Posted By raf: So, what's the bottom line here? Is this the modern version of the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918, or just some overhyped flu bug?
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good question from what I've read it seems like we get to wait and see -- no one knows yet
Link Posted: 5/3/2003 4:05:04 PM EDT
This is gonna get ugly/uglier.
Link Posted: 5/3/2003 4:10:28 PM EDT
It sounds to me like it Could go either way. What if the bug meets another of it's kind and mutates to a real nasty?? I'd like to get the opinions of some of the pros, like soylent and some others. Maybe there's a researcher or 3 who hang here?? [:D]
Link Posted: 5/3/2003 8:30:54 PM EDT
Okay folks. The skinny I got on SARS is that if you're under 65 and in good health you'll have a 95% chance of survival. The Idiots in the news refuse to report this fact therefore spreading panic. Similar to what was reported with tainted raw oysters; If yer older than 6 and younger than 70 you had a 90% chance of getting a case of diarreah. Everyone else gets it terminally only 5% of the time. Do the math.
Link Posted: 5/3/2003 8:58:46 PM EDT
Originally Posted By ARChoo: Okay folks. The skinny I got on SARS is that if you're under 65 and in good health you'll have a 95% chance of survival. The Idiots in the news refuse to report this fact therefore spreading panic. Similar to what was reported with tainted raw oysters; If yer older than 6 and younger than 70 you had a 90% chance of getting a case of diarreah. Everyone else gets it terminally only 5% of the time. Do the math.
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if i remember right, the spanish flu pandemic killed something like 30 million people its fatality rate was about 4%
Link Posted: 5/3/2003 9:15:23 PM EDT
Originally Posted By raf: So, what's the bottom line here? Is this the modern version of the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918, or just some overhyped flu bug?
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The correct answer is that it COULD be a new pandemic equal to the one of 1918 IF people don't take it seriously. It hasn't been around long enough yet to say for certain about how it can spread against modern medicine. Where it has struck it has been pleanty lethal enough. People keep trying to poo poo the seriousness of the treat it poses, but if is NOT hyped up measures to control it will be difficult to empliment-especally as the only control method is isolation, essentially imprisonment.
Link Posted: 5/3/2003 9:16:38 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Red_Beard:
Originally Posted By ARChoo: Okay folks. The skinny I got on SARS is that if you're under 65 and in good health you'll have a 95% chance of survival. The Idiots in the news refuse to report this fact therefore spreading panic. Similar to what was reported with tainted raw oysters; If yer older than 6 and younger than 70 you had a 90% chance of getting a case of diarreah. Everyone else gets it terminally only 5% of the time. Do the math.
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if i remember right, the spanish flu pandemic killed something like 30 million people its fatality rate was about 4%
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Only 2.2% in the US.
Link Posted: 5/3/2003 9:19:09 PM EDT
Originally Posted By ArmdLbrl:
Originally Posted By Red_Beard:
Originally Posted By ARChoo: Okay folks. The skinny I got on SARS is that if you're under 65 and in good health you'll have a 95% chance of survival. The Idiots in the news refuse to report this fact therefore spreading panic. Similar to what was reported with tainted raw oysters; If yer older than 6 and younger than 70 you had a 90% chance of getting a case of diarreah. Everyone else gets it terminally only 5% of the time. Do the math.
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if i remember right, the spanish flu pandemic killed something like 30 million people its fatality rate was about 4%
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Only 2.2% in the US.
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aha, and as heartless as it seems, most of us are probably more concerned about how this thing will act locally as opposed to world wide by the way, the 400/6000 ~ 6.66% thing should actually be 400/(6000 + 400) ~ 6.25% percent of those infected who die
Link Posted: 5/4/2003 12:45:38 PM EDT
Unless you spend alot of time in overcrowded areas like Prisons, Hospitals, College dorms, high rise apartments, then I dont think your going to have to worry to much. Exceed the carry capacity of any habitat and darwin will thin the heard.
Link Posted: 5/4/2003 4:27:36 PM EDT
Originally Posted By AR15fan: Unless you spend alot of time in overcrowded areas like Prisons, Hospitals, College dorms, high rise apartments, then I dont think your going to have to worry to much. Exceed the carry capacity of any habitat and darwin will thin the heard.
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Military bases too. That is where the 1918 flu started.
Link Posted: 5/4/2003 4:35:06 PM EDT
Studies show SARS can live on common surfaces Related Video CTV Newsnet: New research shows SARS can survive on common surfaces for 24 hours 4:05 CTV.ca News Staff The World Health Organization has released some unsettling news about SARS. New laboratory studies show the virus is able survive on common surfaces for at least 24 hours, possibly longer. One study shows the SARS virus was still living on door knobs and table-tops after 24 hours at room temperature. Another study found that a common detergent failed to sterilize tainted areas. Scientists believe the studies explain how people can become infected without coming into face-to-face contact with a SARS patient. Dr. Donald Low, a microbiologist-in-chief at Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital, reviewed the data with CTV's Newsnet. "The study shows that the virus can survive on an environment like a plastic surface, potentially a door knob or a button on an elevator. Also, that the agents that we use to clean those environments, that this virus is not always killed by them. "One of the other things that was reported in the study was that the virus could survive in diarrhea stools for up to four days. So there's lots of information here suggesting that this thing is much heartier than we had expected," Low said. Research conducted by government scientists in Hong Kong found that the virus could stay alive in diarrhea for at least four days. Some scientists believe that the study adds weight to the theory that leaky sewage pipes caused an outbreak at a Hong Kong apartment complex. CTV's Scott Laurie asked Low if a similar situation could happened here at home. "No, that was very unusual circumstance, and the structure of that, the structural defects that were found that apartment complex with a cross contamination of the sewage pipes with water and in drain pipes was really unusual," Low said. Low, who went through the experience of quarantine during the SARS outbreak in Toronto, said the new studies won't change how SARS is being dealt with in Canada. He said Canadian health officials have already increased the degree of protection provided to health-care workers. The WHO believes the new information will help health officials develop strategies to contain SARS. Dr. Klaus Stohr, the WHO's chief SARS scientist, said that about 10 per cent of the people who become infected with SARS get diarrhea. "The most exciting, or perhaps disturbing, finding is that the virus stays alive in feces for as long as four days at room temperatures. That finding is the most disturbing one because it would suggest that fecal-oral transmission could take place," Stohr said. He also said that Japanese researchers had found that the SARS virus could survive in cool temperatures (4 degrees C.) for four days in cells on plastic surfaces. "This is fridge temperature, so if someone touches something with a SARS contaminated hand, it would stay for four days on something in the fridge," Stohr said.
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Link Posted: 5/4/2003 5:52:37 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/4/2003 5:53:11 PM EDT by Red_Beard]
better hope your fast food cook washes well after he wipes his ass
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