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Expert: Updates on SARS Diagnosis and Treatment

China is to modify and update its national guide book on "Diagnosis and Treatment of SARS" later this month.

According to Zhong Nanshan, a noted medical expert and leader of the expert team for SARS control in south China's Guangdong Province, the new version of the handbook, highlighting three major points, will first make clear how to diagnose a SARS patient:

"In diagnosing, the previous version had five categories of patients, namely: not infected, not likely infected, suspected case, diagnosed case and confirmed case. Now it has been simplified to three: not infected, suspected and confirmed. It's clearer and arouses less panic!"

The expert also notes that the new book will introduce a safer and more effective method that makes accurate early diagnosis of SARS possible:

"We'll recommend a new serum-related reagent for early SARS diagnosis in the updated guiding book. Developed by the Military Academy of Medical Sciences, it's the first of its kind in the world. It takes less time, about one and a half hours, and can examine a large quantity of cases at one time. The results can be seen with the naked eye. And it's efficient, with an accuracy rate of above 90 percent."

Meanwhile, according to Zhong Nanshan, the new handbook will offer more details on the progress made by Chinese scientists in search for a vaccine against SARS. Now prototypes have been tested on human subjects. So far none of the 36 volunteers have shown symptoms and are in perfect health.

In the first half of 2003, SARS killed more than 900 people worldwide. A further 8,400 were infected with the disease but later recovered. China later published the book, which gave a detailed introduction on SARS research development, diagnosis and treatment, as well as management of hospitals which receive SARS patients.

(CRI August 2, 2004)

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