Coronaviruses in the Middle East
Caroline Ash Science 1/1/16
Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) causes severe acute respiratory illness and kills about a third of people infected. The virus is common in dromedary camels, which can be a source of human infections. In a survey for MERSCoV in over 1300 Saudi Arabian camels, Sabir et al. found that dromedaries share three coronavirus species with humans. Diverse MERS lineages in camels have caused human infections, which suggests that transfer among host species occurs quite easily. Haagmans et al. made a MERS-CoV vaccine for use in camels, using poxvirus as a vehicle. The vaccine significantly reduced virus excretion, which should help reduce the potential for transmission to humans, and conferred cross-immunity to camelpox infections.
Science, this issue p. 81, p. 77