UBI (United Biomedical, Inc) of Hauppauge, NY USA and UBI-Asia of Hsin Chu, Taiwan, have developed the first synthetic peptide-based diagnostic test for SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome). The UBI test is an enzyme-linked immunoassay (EIA) designed to detect antibodies against the SARS coronavirus (SCoV). The high stringency of the synthetic peptides makes for an immunoassay that distinguishes infection by the SARS virus from infection by other pneumonia-causing pathogens such as influenza and mycoplasma.

The UBI® SCoV EIA was developed in an accelerated program by researchers at UBI (Hauppauge, NY), and UBI-Asia (Hsin Chu, Taiwan) in collaboration with an academic research team at National Taiwan University Medical School and a NIH-NIAID Research Project Cooperative Agreement.  The synthetic peptides of the UBI immunoassay correspond to sequences of structural (M, S, N) and non-structural (NSP, Orf) proteins of SCoV. The peptides are chemically synthesized rather than produced by infectious SARS virus, making the test safe to manufacture and use. The precise peptide markers impart the test with the high sensitivity needed to track the transmission of SARS with confidence, without undue false positive reactions.  The UBI® SCoV EIA test has been evaluated for sensitivity (convalescent human SARS CoV) and specificity (non-SARS CoV) on over 1600 serum samples in Taiwan.

The UBI® SCoV EIA test is available for use in national surveys to track SARS from UBI and UBI-Asia under Investigational Device Exemptions in the United States and Taiwan. The UBI test detects antibodies to SARS CoV and is especially useful in conjunction with molecular tests for presence of the SARS coronavirus itself.
Reference:  Hseuh PR, Kao CL, Lee CN, Chen LK, Ho MS, Sia C, Fang XD, Lynn S, et al. Highly Specific SARS Antibody Test for Serosurveillance. Emerging Infectious Diseases 2004, 10:1558-1562

Coronavirus from SARS isolated in FRhK-4 cells. Negative stained virus particles.
Department of Microbiology, The University of Hong Kong and The Government Virus Unit, Department of Health, Hong Kong SAR China