Detection of SARS-associated coronavirus in throat wash and saliva in early diagnosis

Wei Kung Wang, Shey Ying Chen, I. Jung Liu, Yee Chun Chen, Hui Ling Chen, Chao Fu Yang, Pei Jer Chen, Shiou Hwei Yeh, Chuan Liang Kao, Li Min Huang, Po Ren Hsueh, Jann Tay Wang, Wang Hwei Sheng, Chi Tai Fang, Chien Ching Hung, Szu Min Hsieh, Chan Ping Su, Wen Chu Chiang, Jyh Yuan Yang, Jih Hui LinSzu Chia Hsieh, Hsien Ping Hu, Yu Ping Chiang, Jin Town Wang, Pan Chyr Yang, Shan Chwen Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

178 Citations (Scopus)


The severe acute respiratory syndrome-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV) is thought to be transmitted primarily through dispersal of droplets, but little is known about the load of SARS-CoV in oral droplets. We examined oral specimens, including throat wash and saliva, and found large amounts of SARS-CoV RNA in both throat wash (9.58 × 102 to 5.93 × 106 copies/mL) and saliva (7.08 × 103 to 6.38 × 10 8 copies/mL) from all specimens of 17 consecutive probable SARS case-patients, supporting the possibility of transmission through oral droplets, Immunofluorescence study showed replication of SARS-CoV in the cells derived from throat wash, demonstrating the possibility of developing a convenient antigen detection assay. This finding, with the high detection rate a median of 4 days after disease onset and before the development of lung lesions in four patients, suggests that throat wash and saliva should be included in sample collection guidelines for SARS diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1213-1219
Number of pages7
JournalEmerging Infectious Diseases
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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