Thursday, August 8, 2013

MERS (Arab form of SARS) came from camels?

NYTimes article

The virus, first detected last year in Saudi Arabia, causes Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS, which begins with flulike symptoms and can progress to severe pneumonia. Because the virus belongs to a family called coronaviruses, often found in bats, researchers suspect that it originally came from bats. The bats might infect people through droppings or saliva, but they might also infect other animals that could then transmit the virus to humans. But which animals? Researchers have been scrambling to find out.
Now, a scientific team from a dozen universities is reporting that dromedary camels (the kind with one hump) from Oman and the Canary Islands show signs of past infection with the MERS virus or one very much like it.

Lancet article HERE.

We took sera from animals in the Middle East (Oman) and from elsewhere (Spain, Netherlands, Chile)....
Not from Saudi camels?


50 of 50 (100%) sera from Omani camels and 15 of 105 (14%) from Spanish camels had protein-specific antibodies against MERS-CoV spike. Sera from European sheep, goats, cattle, and other camelids had no such antibodies. MERS-CoV neutralising antibody titres varied between 1/320 and 1/2560 for the Omani camel sera and between 1/20 and 1/320 for the Spanish camel sera. There was no evidence for cross-neutralisation by bovine coronavirus antibodies.


MERS-CoV or a related virus has infected camel populations. Both titres and seroprevalences in sera from different locations in Oman suggest widespread infection.

so a virus similar to MERS has infected camels all over in the past. Does this mean we didn't recognize it in the past (probably) or a new mutation that lets it infect men (WAGD !)

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