Chinese expert: antibody offers a way to diagnose SARS
( 2003-06-13 15:36) (Agencies)
China has received encouraging results from a potential test for SARS that uses antibodies to diagnose the disease, a leading Chinese researcher said on Thursday.
Until now, identifying SARS has been a matter of finding signs of the disease, such as high white blood cell counts and damaged lungs.
Researchers around the world have been racing to find experimental screening tests to detect the virus, but some of the tests developed have missed the bug in early stages of infection.
Zhong said tests for the presence of the IgG antibody as an indicator of SARS are being conducted in the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan. The mainland was the first to conclude its trials.
All 73 confirmed SARS cases tested positive for the antibody in the trials, Zhong said.
When researchers also tested 1,022 healthy medical workers, only 2.2 percent of the results came back positive.
"I'm convinced after our experiment, we think this kind of antibody is very useful to differentiate this disease from other diseases," Zhong told foreign reporters at a briefing in the southern province of Guangdong, where the virus originated.
Provincial health officials said 1,511 people caught the disease in Guangdong, and 68 had died.
Zhong said the lack of a reliable test was responsible for the labeling of many non-SARS cases as SARS, especially soon after the outbreak began late last year.
He attributed the rapid decline in new cases to improved diagnostic techniques, noting that many cases that previously might have been mistaken for SARS were no longer counted.
Other experiments have shown that people with SARS do not appear to remain infectious once they have recovered, Zhong said. Some researchers feared the disease could be spread by former patients even after being given a clean bill of health.
In those tests, researchers followed 59 recovered SARS patients for an average of three months each after discharge.
The group had regular close contact with 271 people, and casual contact with 984. Of those, two developed fever over the three-month period, but it did not prove to be SARS, Zhong said.
"I am quite confident to say those patients who have suffered from SARS and
been discharged from the hospitals have no infectious propensity," he said.
|.contact us |.about us|
|Copyright By chinadaily.com.cn. All rights reserved|