Detection of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus RNA in plasma during the course of infection

J Clin Microbiol. 2005 Feb;43(2):962-5. doi: 10.1128/JCM.43.2.962-965.2005.


We examined severe acute respiratory syndrome-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV) RNA in plasma of 32 patients (probable SARS cases) by a quantitative real-time reverse transcription-PCR assay and reported that the highest detection rate, 75%, was found between day 5 and day 7 of illness, followed by rates of 64, 50, and 38% found between day 8 and day 11, day 2 and day 4, and day 12 and day 16, respectively. Analysis of sequential SARS-CoV load in plasma from six cases revealed different patterns of viremia, with the peak between day 4 and day 8. Our findings of the high detection rate of SARS-CoV RNA in plasma before day 11, together with the relative convenience of collecting and handling plasma, suggest that plasma can be used for early diagnosis of SARS.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • RNA, Viral / blood*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • SARS Virus / genetics
  • SARS Virus / isolation & purification*
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / virology
  • Taiwan


  • RNA, Viral