Osong Public Health Res Perspect.  2020 Feb;11(1):3-7. 10.24171/j.phrp.2020.11.1.02.

Identification of Coronavirus Isolated from a Patient in Korea with COVID-19

Affiliations
  • 0Division of Viral Diseases, Center for Laboratory Control of Infectious Diseases, Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cheongju, Korea
  • 0Division of Biosafety Evaluation and Control, National Institute of Health, Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cheongju, Korea

Abstract

Objectives

Following reports of patients with unexplained pneumonia at the end of December 2019 in Wuhan, China, the causative agent was identified as coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), and the 2019 novel coronavirus disease was named COVID-19 by the World Health Organization. Putative patients with COVID-19 have been identified in South Korea, and attempts have been made to isolate the pathogen from these patients.

Methods

Upper and lower respiratory tract secretion samples from putative patients with COVID-19 were inoculated onto cells to isolate the virus. Full genome sequencing and electron microscopy were used to identify the virus.

Results

The virus replicated in Vero cells and cytopathic effects were observed. Full genome sequencing showed that the virus genome exhibited sequence homology of more than 99.9% with SARS-CoV-2 which was isolated from patients from other countries, for instance China. Sequence homology of SARS-CoV-2 with SARS-CoV, and MERS-CoV was 77.5% and 50%, respectively. Coronavirus-specific morphology was observed by electron microscopy in virus-infected Vero cells.

Conclusion

SARS-CoV-2 was isolated from putative patients with unexplained pneumonia and intermittent coughing and fever. The isolated virus was named BetaCoV/Korea/KCDC03/2020.


Keyword

COVID-19; coronavirus; SARS-CoV-2; isolation; pneumonia
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