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Posted on 28 Sep 2012 in Latest |

New Sars-like Coronavirus Zoonotic?

Updates into the investigation of the deadly new Sars-like coronavirus have indicated that the pathogen does not “appear” to be easily transmitted. In a statement, the World Health Organization said, “From the information available thus far, it appears that the novel coronavirus cannot be easily transmitted from person-to-person.”

The agency also said that no new cases have thus far been identified.


On 22 September 2012, the United Kingdom (UK) informed WHO of a case of acute respiratory syndrome with travel history to Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

The case is a previously healthy, 49 year-old male Qatari national that presented with symptoms on 3 September 2012 with travel history to Saudi Arabia several days prior to onset of illness. On 7 September he was admitted to an intensive care unit in Doha, Qatar. On 11 September, he was transferred to the UK by air ambulance from Qatar. The Health Protection Agency of the UK (HPA) conducted laboratory testing and subsequently confirmed the presence of the novel coronavirus.

The HPA compared information from the clinical sample collected from the 49 year-old Qatari national with that of a virus sequenced previously by the Erasmus University Medical Centre, Netherlands. This latter isolate was obtained from lung tissue of a fatal case earlier this year in a 60 year-old Saudi national. This comparison indicated 99.5% identity, with one nucleotide mismatch over the regions compared.*

Though it is a very different virus to SARS, given the severity of the two confirmed cases so far, WHO is engaged in further characterizing the novel coronavirus. As such, international efforts are being stepped up across all WHO six regions to ensure an appropriate and effective response with a WHO specialist team in daily contact with more than a dozen international and regional technical partners.

Possibly Zoonotic

The BBC is reporting a possible zoonotic link:

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), which monitors disease in the European Union, said initial findings suggested the virus may have originated in animals – diseases known as zoonotic.

Writing in the journal Eurosurveillance, they said: “It is quite probably of zoonotic origin and different in behaviour to Sars.”

Read the entire story on the BBC website: New Sars-like Coronavirus Possibly Zoonotic (a new window will open)

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