St. Louis Public Radio News
9:07 am
Tue April 29, 2003

Washington U. ID's SARS Genetic Sequence

St. Louis, MO – Washington University scientists have cracked the genetic code of the SARS virus.

Working with the University of California San Francisco, the St. Louis team was able to identify the virus' DNA pattern within one week.

By understanding how the virus is structured, doctors may isolate it more quickly and create enhanced diagnostic tests.

Dr. Richard Wilson co-directs the university's Genome Sequencing Center. He says the knowledge gained from the research can be applied to other new viral infections as well.

And you want to be able to very quickly pin down something that you see; what is the causative agent of a new potentially devastating epidemic, and how can you quickly figure out if other people that are coming into the ER have this particular agent," Wilson said. "That's really where the power is.

Wilson says now that scientists have a complete portrait of the human genome, they should be able to more quickly isolate the cause of other viruses in the future.