Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) was a major epidemic at the beginning of the 21st
century. This highly infectious disease is caused by a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV), whose immune reaction is still not completely understood. This study described the genetic patterns of HLA-A, -B, and -DRB1 loci in patients from Beijing who survived SARS, and examined whether an association between HLA genes and susceptibility/resistance to SARS exists. A total of 148 Chinese Han SARS survivors were recruited to donate convalescent plasma in 2003. HLA low-resolution genotyping was carried out using PCR-SSP. Allele frequencies were compared with published frequencies of HLA alleles from 11 755 unrelated northern Chinese Han bone marrow donors by Fisher's exact test. In this cohort, 13, 25 and 13 alleles were observed at HLA-A, -B, and -DRB1 loci respectively. Fisher's exact tests revealed four alleles (A*26, DRB1*04, DRB1*09, and DRB1*16) that showed a nominal association significance with the SARS virus (P<0.05), yet none of these associations remained significant after correction. Our study suggests that HLA polymorphisms were unlikely to have contributed significantly to either the susceptibility or resistance to the SARS-Cov infection in patients who survived SARS in the Northern Chinese population, thus leaving an open question for future studies into a possible association HLA class Ⅰ and class Ⅱ genes with SARS in patients who were unable to survive the infection.