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On April 16 2003, following the outbreak of severe acute respiratory
syndrome in Asia and secondary cases elsewhere in the world, the World
Health Organization issued a press release stating that the coronavirus
identified by a number of laboratories was the official cause of SARS. The
virus was officially named the SARS virus.
On April 12, 2003, scientists working around the clock at the Michael Smith
Genome Sciences Centre in Vancouver, British Columbia finished mapping the
genetic sequence of a coronavirus believed to be linked to SARS. The team
was lead by Dr. Marco Marra and worked in collaboration with the British
Columbia Centre for Disease Control and the National Microbiology Laboratory
in Winnipeg, Manitoba, using samples from infected patients in Toronto. The
map, hailed by WHO as an important step forward in fighting SARS, is being
shared with scientists worldwide via the GSC website (see below).
Dr. Donald Low of Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto described the discovery as
having been made with "unprecedented speed."
The sequence of the SARS virus has since been confirmed by other independent groups.