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WHO Hopes To Host Second Meeting On Issues Related To 'Dual-Use' Research

“The World Health Organization (WHO) hopes to hold a meeting late this fall to discuss ‘dual-use’ research issues raised in the controversy over publication of two studies involving lab-modified H5N1 viruses with increased transmissibility, a WHO official said,” CIDRAP News reports. “The WHO hosted a closed meeting of disease experts and government officials Feb 16 and 17 to discuss the two H5N1 studies,” CIDRAP notes, adding that “the WHO [on Wednesday] released a brief statement about its activities related to the H5N1 research controversy since the February meeting in Geneva.” Keiji Fukuda, the WHO’s assistant director-general for health security and environment, said, “We hope to hold a second meeting to discuss the broader concerns related to potential dual [use] research in the late fall, if resources are available,” the news service notes.

MERS Virus Detected In Air Samples Of Camel Barn Suggests Disease Is Airborne

Reuters: MERS virus detected in air samples from Saudi camel barn “Saudi scientists have found gene fragments of the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus in air from a barn housing an infected camel and say this suggests the disease may be transmitted through the air…” (Kelland, 7/22).

Researchers Create Virus Similar To 1918 Flu; Critics Call Experiment ‘Crazy’

The Guardian: Scientists condemn ‘crazy, dangerous’ creation of deadly airborne flu virus “Scientists have created a life-threatening virus that closely resembles the 1918 Spanish flu strain that killed an estimated 50 million people in an experiment labeled as ‘crazy’ by opponents…” (Sample, 6/11).

Iran Records First MERS Cases, WHO Says; Kuwait Identifies Camels With Virus

CIDRAP News: WHO confirms MERS in Iran as Kuwait finds virus in camels “The World Health Organization (WHO) [Wednesday] confirmed the first two MERS-CoV cases in Iran, reported recently in the news media, while another media story said Kuwait has found the virus in five camels…” (Roos, 6/11).

Saudi Response To MERS Hindered By Underlying Problems In Health System, Sources Say

Reuters: Saudi MERS response hobbled by institutional failings “When Saudi Arabia announced last week it had found 113 more cases of the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), it didn’t just force a rethink of the threat the virus poses, it exposed institutional failings. Saudi health sources and international virologists…

Bangladesh Reports First Case Of MERS

Reuters: Bangladesh reports first case of MERS infection “Bangladesh on Sunday reported its first case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus infection in a man returning from the United States through Abu Dhabi…” (Paul, 6/15).

WHO Issues Statement On Emergency Committee Meeting On MERS-CoV

World Health Organization: WHO statement on the Sixth Meeting of the IHR Emergency Committee concerning MERS-CoV The WHO issued a statement on outcomes from the convening of the International Health Regulations (IHR) emergency committee regarding Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), stating that while the outbreak remains serious it does…

Vigilance Over MERS Remains High But New Case Numbers Subsiding

News outlets report on the ongoing Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) outbreak, which seems to be subsiding, according to the WHO, and did not spread from person-to-person in the U.S., according to the CDC. Agence France-Presse: MERS cases in decline, vigilance urged for Hajj: WHO “A surge in cases of…

New Study Maps H7N9 Avian Flu Risk In Asia

New York Times: Mapping the Risk of Bird Flu’s Spread “A strain of bird flu that has infected at least 367 people in mainland China over the past year poses a threat to several other parts of Asia, including the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, and India, according to a new…