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Middle East Respiratory Syndrome

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is a severe respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus called Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is a severe respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus called Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV). Most MERS patients develop severe respiratory illness and fever, cough and shortness of breath. MERS resulted in death in approximately 3-4 out of 10 patients. MERS-CoV is spread from infected individuals to others through close contact such as caring for or living in the same household. MERS-CoV is a zoonotic virus as most infections are passed from animals to humans.

The first cases of MERS have retrospectively been determined to have occurred in Jordan in April 2012, but health officials first reported the disease in Saudi Arabia in September 2012. MERS is linked through travel to, or residence in countries in or near the Arabian Peninsula. Outside of this area the largest known outbreak of MERS occurred in the Republic of Korea in 2015 and was associated with a traveler returning from the Arabian Peninsula.

There are several coronaviruses (members in Coronaviridae family of viruses) that constantly circulate in the human population and cause mild respiratory disease.Coronaviruses are enveloped RNA viruses. MERS caused by MERS-CoV coronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) caused by the SARS-CoV coronavirus and COVID-19 caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus are all severe respiratory illnesses. Research suggests that SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV2 originated in bats. MERS-CoV spread from the intermediate host and infected dromedary camels to people.

MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 share 50% nucleotide sequence identity. Research into potential therapeutics and vaccines for COVID-19 builds on data, vaccine and therapeutic strategies available from SARS and MERS research. MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 all belong to the betacoronavirus genus.


Further Resources



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Evaluate the Safety, Immunogenicity and Potential Efficacy of an rVSV-SARS-CoV-2-S Vaccine - Full Text View.
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Coronavirus Outbreak LIVE Updates: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is expected to address the media in New Delhi at 1 pm. The finance minister is likely to announce a relief package amid 21-day nationwide shutdown over coronavirus pandemic. Watch LIVE News, Latest Updates, Live blog, Highlights and Live coverage online at
The Conversation
March 19, 2020
The Next Web
COVID-19, which first emerged in Wuhan, China in December 2019, is relentlessly sweeping across the world. The scale of the epidemic has caused chaos and led to the World Health Organization declaring it a pandemic in early February 2020. Understanding the virus is the preoccupation of scientists who are trying to unravel its mysteries as ...
January 29, 2020


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