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Saudi Arabia Must Remain Vigilent, Transparent On MERS

Citing two conflicting studies on Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) — one showing “a slowly growing epidemic” and the other not — a Washington Post editorial states, “The behavior of this virus is a matter of concern to the world. Much is unknown, and much will depend on Saudi…

The Atlantic Examines Search For Universal Flu Vaccine

“The sudden outbreak [in 2009 of H1N1] drove home the realization that the world needs vaccines that are more effective and faster to make — not just to reduce the 250,000 to 500,000 deaths from seasonal flu that occur every year but also to prepare for the arrival of new,…

Qatar Reports 4th MERS Death; WHO Says Case-Fatality Rate At 39%

“An expatriate living in Qatar has died of [Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV)], bringing to four the number of deaths in the Gulf state from the coronavirus, health authorities said on Friday,” Agence France-Presse reports. “Experts are struggling to understand the disease, for which there is no vaccine,” the…

FDA Approves H5N1 Vaccine For Use In Epidemic

“The Food and Drug Administration [FDA] said Friday it has approved a vaccine made by GlaxoSmithKline Plc for use in the event of an H5N1 bird flu epidemic,” Al Jazeera America reports (11/24). “H5N1 made news around the globe last year when two groups of researchers published [papers] on mutations that could…

Deaths From 2009 H1N1 Outbreak Likely Higher Than WHO Estimated, Analysis Shows

“Deaths from H1N1 influenza in 2009 may have been 10 times higher than previously estimated, killing 123,000 to 203,000 people from respiratory illness worldwide, according to a new analysis in the journal PLOS Medicine,” published on Tuesday, USA Today reports (Szab, 11/26). “The [WHO] had said there were about 18,500…

MERS Found In Camels, Raising Suspicion As Animal Reservoir

“Scientists have found cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) in camels in Qatar, health officials said on Thursday, fueling speculation that camels might be the animal reservoir that allowed the virus to infect and kill humans,” Reuters reports. A statement from Qatar’s Supreme Council of Health said the virus…

Hong Kong Reports First Case Of H7N9 Bird Flu

“Hong Kong has reported its first case of the H7N9 bird flu strain, in a possible sign the virus is spreading beyond mainland China since it first emerged there earlier this year,” the Associated Press reports (12/2). “A 36-year-old Indonesian woman who works as a domestic helper fell ill on…

MERS Death Toll Rises; Egypt Reports First Case

News outlets report on the growing epidemic of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). Agence France-Presse: Two Saudis die of MERS, taking toll to 94 “Two Saudi nationals have died from MERS, taking the death toll from the coronavirus in the worst-hit country to 94, the health ministry said…” (4/27). Associated…

Saudi Arabia Must Embrace Transparency, Cooperation In MERS Outbreak

Washington Post: Saudi Arabia’s MERS virus outbreak demands transparency “…Major uncertainties about the MERS virus persist, including how it spreads, whether it has efficiently begun human-to-human transmission and whether its genetic makeup has evolved. The Saudis must throw open their doors to international scientific inquiry. … For everyone’s safety and…

Scientists Identify MERS Antibodies That Could Lead To Treatments

Media sources report on a new discovery that could lead to treatments for the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus. Reuters: Scientists find MERS virus antibodies that may lead to treatments “Scientists have found natural human antibodies to the newly emerging Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus and say their…