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Monday, July 8, 2013

Team hopes for headway soon in MERS research

Via The Montreal Gazette :

" This week experts from around the world will begin meeting to advise the World Health Organization on the new MERS coronavirus.

One of the key reasons the so-called emergency committee is being called together at this point, a senior WHO official says, is because so many questions remain unanswered about the virus that causes Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome.

“There’s a whole lot of information which we don’t understand,” Dr. Keiji Fukuda, assistant director general for health security and the environment, says of the WHO’s unexpected move, announced Friday.

Efforts to find the source of the MERS virus and to answer basic questions about the way it moves into and among people have been frustratingly slow to yield results.

A decade ago, when the SARS virus emerged, developments moved much more rapidly. Within two-and-a-half months of the new disease hitting the world’s radar, scientists in Hong Kong had found the SARS coronavirus in civet cats, which are eaten as a delicacy in the part of southern China where SARS emerged.

More than a year after the MERS virus was first isolated, the world still has no idea how this new coronavirus is finding its way into human lungs in several Middle Eastern countries, most notably Saudi Arabia."

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