From Robert Roos at CIDRAP :
" Scientists have found more evidence that many camels in the Middle East have been exposed to the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) or a close relative, increasing the suspicion that camels may have spread the virus to humans.
In serologic tests on 110 dromedary camels in Egypt, one test showed that 94% of them had antibodies to MERS-CoV, and a second test revealed antibodies in 98%, according to a report in today's issue of Eurosurveillance. Tests of humans, water buffaloes, cows, and other domestic animals in Egypt and Hong Kong showed no MERS-CoV antibodies.
"The antibody titres were very high" in both sets of tests, "suggesting that the virus infecting these camels was MERS-CoV virus itself or a very closely related virus," says the report by a team of Chinese, Egyptian, and American scientists.
The findings echo those published last month by a team from the Netherlands and Germany, who tested 50 dromedaries in Oman and found that all had antibodies to MERS-CoV or a close relative. They also found that 14% of a sample of camels in the Canary Islands had similar antibodies.
Which animals harbor the MERS virus and which ones passed, or are passing, it to humans remains a mystery. Although the antibody findings indicate that camels probably have been exposed to MERS-CoV or a very similar virus, scientists have not yet isolated the virus itself from camels or any other animals."