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The growing global epidemic of Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) has been pinned down to a Corona virus. The disease has spread rapidly from its first appearance in China and impacted heavily on Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand and Toronto, Canada. The disease agent was identified as a Corona virus with a unique RNA sequence not directly related to known human and animal viruses (1)
None of the early reports have acknowledged the large body of reports on the genetic manipulation of Corona viruses in the laboratory nor have they considered the possibility that the unique virus arose as a laboratory accident or purposeful experiment. I have searched out a number of studies on the genetic manipulation of Corona viruses and describe a few such studies below.
Corona virus from a disease of pigs that produces symptoms similar to SARS has been manipulated to create a viral vector to propagate foreign genes (2).
The Corona virus coat protein genes have been manipulated to alter the tropism (species attacked by the virus) of the virus (3).
The gene for the pig corona virus coat protein (controlling viral tropism) was propagated in tobacco plants (4).
Prodigene, a company specializing in production of crop biopharmaceuticals also produced an edible vaccine for swine corona virus (5) and information on whether or not that product was the one being field tested in a disastrous field test has been deemed confidential information.
These brief comments are musing on an ongoing investigation but might provide some useful background information to others.
1) http://www.who.int/en/ Corona virus never before seen in humans is the cause of SARS. Unprecedented collaboration identifies new pathogen in record time 16 April 2003
2)Journal of General Virology (2002), 83, 567579. In vitro and in vivo expression of foreign genes by transmissible gastroenteritis coronavirus-derived minigenomes Sara Alonso, Isabel Sola, Jens P. Teifke, Ilona Reimann, Ander Izeta, Monica Balasch, Juan Plana-Duran, Rob J. M. Moormann and Luis Enjuanes
3)JOURNAL OF VIROLOGY, Apr. 2003, p. 45284538 Vol. 77, Switching Species Tropism: an Effective Way To Manipulate the Feline Coronavirus Genome Bert Jan Haijema, Haukeliene Volders, and Peter J. M. Rottie
4)Immunogenicity of porcine transmissible gastroenteritis virus spike protein expressed in plants T. Tubolya, W. Yub, A. Baileyb, S. Degrandisc, S. Dub, L. Erickson, E B . Nagya, Vaccine 18 (2000) 202312028
5) http://www8.techmall.com/techdocs/TS000215-6.html Sept 2001 ProdiGene is First to Demonstrate Vaccination With Edible Vaccines Clinical trials Conducted by ProdiGene, a biopharmaceutical company in College Station, Texas, have demonstrated for the first time that an oral vaccine expressed in plants gives protection against a virulent viral pathogen in livestock. The trials were conducted on swine using an edible form of a vaccine for transmissible gastroenteritis virus (TGEV).
Copyright Joe Cummins 2003. For fair use only/ pour usage équitable seulement .