New Coronavirus Identified in Pneumonia Patients
Jan 16, 2005 - 1:26:38 PM

Researchers from Hong Kong have identified a novel coronavirus in patients suffering from pneumonia. Their findings appear in the January 2005 issue of the Journal of Virology. Coronaviruses are responsible for 5 to 30 percent of human respiratory tract infections largely due to their unique ability to replicate. Because so many cases of respiratory tract infections are reported each year, researchers are actively trying to identify new causative agents.

The new virus, labeled CoV-HKU1, was first identified in a 71-year old pneumonia patient that had just returned from China. Following the discovery, nasal samples were taken from patients suffering from respiratory illness, but negative for SARS and screened for the presence of CoV-HKU1. Samples taken from a 35-year old woman suffering from pneumonia were positive for the virus, supporting the identification of a new group 2 coronavirus.

"Our data support the existence of a novel group 2 coronavirus associated with pneumonia in humans," say the researchers. "Further clinical, seroepidemiological and phylogenetic studies would be required to determine the relative importance of CoV-HKU1 compared to other respiratory tract viruses in causing upper and lower respiratory tract infections, its seroprevalence, and the origin of the virus."

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