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The virus that changed my world.

Poh Ng LF - PLoS Biol. (2003)

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Cell and Medical Biology at the Genome Institute of Singapore. ngfp@gis.a-star.edu.sg

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Schools required that students declare the countries and places they had visited over the weekend or during the mid-semester holidays, but there were parents who told their children to conceal questionable information for fear of having to quarantine them at home... Violation of quarantine orders by a few prompted the Singapore government to threaten fines and jail sentences for those who failed to comply... When the SARS virus was linked to the Coronaviridae (CoV) family, my first reaction was one of excitement and trepidation... The early days were the toughest, as we had very little information and were more or less groping in the dark... Long, exhausting hours took over our lives, and on many occasions I felt discouraged and frustrated when the experiments did not yield anticipated results... At the end of April, researchers at the Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, were the first to obtain the full sequence of SARS–CoV... In the following week, the sequencing team at GIS, led by Dr Ruan Yijun, obtained five different complete sequences (designated “SIN”) and compared these with the isolates from Canada (TOR2), Hong Kong (CUHK-W1 and HKU39849), Hanoi (URBANI), Guangzhou (GZ01), and Beijing (BJ01, BJ02, BJ03, and BJ04)... Dr Ruan's team identified sequence variations among the 14 isolates, and common variant sequences at four loci defined two distinct genotypes of the SARS virus, whose signatures could be used to trace the sources of infection... Shortly after this achievement, GIS entered into a collaboration, through Exploit Technologies (the commercial arm of A*STAR), with Roche Diagnostics GmbH to develop a reliable diagnostic kit for SARS... The GIS team, which involved Prof Ren, Dr Martin Hibberd, and myself, aimed to develop a clinically reliable polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay for the SARS sequence based on Roche's LightCycler system... Data obtained from this work were significant for further understanding of coronavirus replication and pathogenesis, but never had I imagined that I would be able to use this knowledge in designing the SARS–CoV diagnostic kit with Roche... The months working on SARS opened my mind, as it did my heart, about the importance of research and of keeping our faith and motivation even in the toughest times... Interacting with some of the best minds in the field strengthened my commitment to a scientific vocation... But even more importantly, it reminded me of the true reasons for and potential of cold-eyed, back-breaking scientific exploration... I feel truly privileged to have been part of the unfolding of a small medical revolution.

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New Premises of the Genome Institute of Singapore at the Biopolis(Photograph by Daniel Lum, Corporate Communications, Genome Institute of Singapore.)
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pbio.0000066-g001: New Premises of the Genome Institute of Singapore at the Biopolis(Photograph by Daniel Lum, Corporate Communications, Genome Institute of Singapore.)


The virus that changed my world.

Poh Ng LF - PLoS Biol. (2003)

New Premises of the Genome Institute of Singapore at the Biopolis(Photograph by Daniel Lum, Corporate Communications, Genome Institute of Singapore.)
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC300679&req=5

pbio.0000066-g001: New Premises of the Genome Institute of Singapore at the Biopolis(Photograph by Daniel Lum, Corporate Communications, Genome Institute of Singapore.)

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Cell and Medical Biology at the Genome Institute of Singapore. ngfp@gis.a-star.edu.sg

AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED EXCERPT
Please rate it.

Schools required that students declare the countries and places they had visited over the weekend or during the mid-semester holidays, but there were parents who told their children to conceal questionable information for fear of having to quarantine them at home... Violation of quarantine orders by a few prompted the Singapore government to threaten fines and jail sentences for those who failed to comply... When the SARS virus was linked to the Coronaviridae (CoV) family, my first reaction was one of excitement and trepidation... The early days were the toughest, as we had very little information and were more or less groping in the dark... Long, exhausting hours took over our lives, and on many occasions I felt discouraged and frustrated when the experiments did not yield anticipated results... At the end of April, researchers at the Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, were the first to obtain the full sequence of SARS–CoV... In the following week, the sequencing team at GIS, led by Dr Ruan Yijun, obtained five different complete sequences (designated “SIN”) and compared these with the isolates from Canada (TOR2), Hong Kong (CUHK-W1 and HKU39849), Hanoi (URBANI), Guangzhou (GZ01), and Beijing (BJ01, BJ02, BJ03, and BJ04)... Dr Ruan's team identified sequence variations among the 14 isolates, and common variant sequences at four loci defined two distinct genotypes of the SARS virus, whose signatures could be used to trace the sources of infection... Shortly after this achievement, GIS entered into a collaboration, through Exploit Technologies (the commercial arm of A*STAR), with Roche Diagnostics GmbH to develop a reliable diagnostic kit for SARS... The GIS team, which involved Prof Ren, Dr Martin Hibberd, and myself, aimed to develop a clinically reliable polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay for the SARS sequence based on Roche's LightCycler system... Data obtained from this work were significant for further understanding of coronavirus replication and pathogenesis, but never had I imagined that I would be able to use this knowledge in designing the SARS–CoV diagnostic kit with Roche... The months working on SARS opened my mind, as it did my heart, about the importance of research and of keeping our faith and motivation even in the toughest times... Interacting with some of the best minds in the field strengthened my commitment to a scientific vocation... But even more importantly, it reminded me of the true reasons for and potential of cold-eyed, back-breaking scientific exploration... I feel truly privileged to have been part of the unfolding of a small medical revolution.

Show MeSH