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Researchers Plan To Genetically Modify H7N9 Virus To Better Understand Mutations

“Scientists have unveiled plans to genetically engineer a lethal strain of bird flu to understand how it could mutate in nature and trigger a catastrophic pandemic,” The Guardian reports (Sample, 8/7). “Some of the world’s leading flu researchers argue that genetically altering [the H7N9] virus in high-security labs is key…

Researchers Find MERS Antibodies Among Camels, Providing Clue To Virus’s Origin

“Camels may be a carrier of the mysterious virus that has infected at least 94 people in the Middle East and killed half of them, scientists are reporting,” the New York Times reports (Grady, 8/8). “Since the virus was first identified last September, there have been 94 illnesses, including 46…

Researchers Trace Evolution Of H7N9, Find Other Similar Viral Strains

“Researchers have traced the evolution of the [H7N9] avian flu currently spreading in China, and have found evidence that it developed in parallel with a similar bird flu, H7N7, which can infect mammals,” Nature reports. “Although there is no evidence that this H7N7 strain will infect humans, the authors of…

NIH Director Speaks To Huffington Post About Effects Of Sequestration

The Huffington Post features an interview with NIH Director Francis Collins, who speaks about the effects of sequestration on the agency’s budget. Because of forced cuts, “[i]nternal NIH estimates show that it will end up cutting more than the 700 research grants the institutes initially planned to sacrifice in the…

MERS Cases Announced In Saudi Arabia, Qatar; Scientists Debate Suspected Bat Vector

“A Saudi man has died of the coronavirus MERS, bringing the kingdom’s death toll from the SARS-like virus to 42, health authorities said Wednesday, adding a new case was registered,” Agence France-Presse reports (8/28). And “[h]ealth authorities in Qatar announced the second confirmed case in a week of the MERS…

WHO Update Reports 102 Recorded MERS Cases, 49 Deaths

“Eight more people in Saudi Arabia have contracted the MERS coronavirus, bringing the number of confirmed infections worldwide in the past year to 102, of whom almost half have died, the [WHO] said on Wednesday,” Reuters reports. “The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), which can cause coughing, fever and…

WSJ Blog Examines Saudi Arabia’s Response To MERS In Lead Up To Hajj

“Saudi Arabia continues to report sporadic new cases and deaths from a lethal new coronavirus, as hajj season in October — when the kingdom expects more than three million pilgrims from 187 countries — approaches,” the Wall Street Journal’s “Middle East Real Time” blog reports. “As of Friday, the Saudi…

Qatar Reports First MERS-Related Fatality

Qatar on Wednesday reported its first fatality from the SARS-like virus that “has killed 50 people out of 108 confirmed cases of infections, the [WHO] said on its website on August 30,” Agence France-Presse reports. The virus, called MERS-CoV — Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus — “is considered a cousin…