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Progress Made in SARS Research, But More Cases Reported - 2003-04-14

From the medical world, there’s more to tell you about in connection with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS. There’s encouraging news, scientific developments, but sadly, more cases to report. Brian Purchia has details.

In Canada, scientists have mapped the genetic sequence of the pneumonia-like virus, which causes SARS. They say this could lead to the development of an accurate diagnostic test for the illness, and possibly a vaccine. Marco Marra is the director of the Michael Smith Genome Science Center:

“Our particular goal was to generate the sequence information, place it in the public domain so that investigators everywhere could utilize their complementary expertise in the search for an agent for SARS and, long term, a cure.”

Canada has the third largest number of SARS cases, with 13 deaths and more than 100 probable infections.

Hong Kong has reported seven more deaths from SARS. This is the territory’s highest death toll in a single day from the disease.

Deaths in Hong Kong over the weekend stirred alarm because some of the victims were apparently healthy and relatively young adults. Previously, most of those killed by SARS were either elderly or suffering from a chronic illness. Nearly 12-hundred people in Hong Kong are sick with the respiratory illness.

China’s President Hu Jintao says he is very worried about the deadly pneumonia-like virus that apparently originated in China and has spread around the world. He broke his public silence about SARS on Monday during a tour of medical facilities in the southern province of Guangdong. The official Chinese news agency quoted him as saying officials should do everything possible to prevent the spread of the disease.

More than 1400 people in China have contracted the disease.