•HPA has received a number of requests about molecular diagnostics and whether broadly reactive primers will pick up this virus. The pan-coronavirus primers described by Emery et al 2004 and Vijgen et al 2008 should both work.
•The World Health Organisation has convened relevant European laboratories to work collaboratively to produce clinically validated assays for real-time detection of the novel coronavirus.
•The patient clinical material that HPA has does not react with the specific detection assays which we have for OC23, 229E, NL63 or SARS.
•The whole genome of the material that is described in ProMed post#501 is expected to be published by Professor Ron Fouchier, Rotterdam, in the next 24-48 hours. This sequence will be based on cultured virus which has been in Rotterdam since early July.
•The sequence data that HPA has from the London case is based on direct detection in clinical material obtained at the weekend. The HPA does not yet have a virus isolate, although obviously clinical material is already in tissue culture in an attempt to make isolates from the London case.
•HPA welcomes offers of reagents or information from scientists working in this area which may be useful in this situation.As a total non-expert, I'm fascinated by the way the national and global health agencies respond to a potential threat. Governments in places like Hong Kong and the Philippines go on alert, the virus genome comes under examination, and a formidable surveillance system turns on.
I suspect London1 coronavirus will end up being a minor scare, unlike the H1N1 outbreak in the spring of 2009. But even as an exercise, the current response is a useful test of our resources.