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Obama Administration Says MERS-CoV Poses Public Health Threat

“The Obama administration on Tuesday designated a respiratory disease now found in the Middle East a threat to public health and national security,” The Hill’s “Healthwatch” blog reports (Wilson, 6/4). According to CIDRAP News, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius made the designation in a May 29…

MERS Virus Spreads To Italy, Kills 3 More In Saudi Arabia

“On Friday, Italy’s health ministry reported its first case of [Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV)] was contracted by a 45-year-old man who returned from a trip to Jordan where he visited his son, who had the ‘flu,'” GlobalPost reports (Mattson, 5/31). “The patient was in good condition and was…

Caution Over New MERS Virus Warranted

Noting that WHO Director-General Margaret Chan recently “named the Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus — MERS-CoV or MERS for short — the greatest threat to world health today,” Laurie Garrett, a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, writes in a CNN opinion piece, “But Hong…

Scientists Find First Signs Of Antiviral Resistance In New H7N9 Virus

“Scientists have found the first cases of the new bird flu virus proving resistant to treatment with Tamiflu or similar drugs,” The Guardian reports. “The analysis of the course of the H7N9 bird flu virus and use of antivirals in 14 patients, reported in The Lancet (.pdf) medical journal, found…

WHA Ends With Multiple Resolutions, WHO DG Stressing Caution On Emerging Disease

“After seven days of intense discussions, the [World Health Assembly (WHA)] concluded with agreement on a range of new public health measures and recommendations aimed at securing greater health benefits for all people, everywhere,” RTT News reports. The WHO governing body approved 24 resolutions and five decisions, including “a budget…

In Discussion Of MERS-CoV At WHA, WHO DG Says Patents Will Not Hinder Public Health

“Dutch scientists who took out a patent on the novel coronavirus that’s killed 22 people since emerging in Saudi Arabia last year defended the move after the Saudi Health Ministry said the patent was hindering the fight against the outbreak,” Bloomberg Businessweek reports. “The virus now known as Middle East…