A new study in the January issue of Nature Genetics reports that individuals with particular combinations of genetic variants are less susceptible to infection by the SARS virus. SARS is an acute respiratory disease resulting from infection of a coronavirus, SARS-CoV.
The authors examined 285 individuals with SARS infection from the 2003 outbreak in Hong Kong, as well as 3 control groups of individuals not infected with SARS. The study found that those individuals with particular combinations of repeats in the extracellular region of a receptor molecule known as L-SIGN, previously shown to bind to the SARS-CoV, show a reduced risk of infection. L-SIGN has also previously been shown to bind the viruses HIV and SIV, and is involved with mediating infection of these viruses, as well as the bacterium M. tuberculosis. This identification provides insight into the mechanism by which SARS-CoV infects a human host, and may help to understand better the nature of the SARS epidemic within these regions.
Chen-Lung S Lin (The University of Hong Kong, China)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature Genetics press release.
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