SARS Virus Treatments Could Hold the Key for Treatment of the Lethal Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) Outbreak

Recent paper published in International Journal of Infectious Diseases reviews treatment scenarios for the SARS virus

Camden, UK, September 13, 2013

A new type of coronavirus, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus, MERS-CoV, was first found a year ago in a patient who died. It took several months before it was discovered that a new virus had emerged. New cases have been reported from Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates). France, Germany, Italy, Tunisia and the United Kingdom have reported imported cases coming from the Middle East. The virus has since been identified in just over 90 patients infected in the Middle East of which approximately 50% have died.

The new virus is closely related to the SARS coronavirus, which caused a global SARS outbreak ten years ago, spreading particularly in China, Hong Kong and Canada, before it faded out due to the usual public health tools of isolation and quarantine.

Similar to SARS, the new virus causes a severe, double-sided pneumonia and a high proportion of patients also experience kidney failure. The majority of cases have been found in Saudi Arabia, but cases have been seen in the United Arab Emirates and Jordan as well as Germany, France, Italy, Tunisia and the United Kingdom.

To limit the outbreak and reduce the risk of new cases, patients with MERS-CoV should be identified and treated before they have infected others or at least infected as few as possible.

A recent paper published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases reviews the experience with different treatment modalities of SARS. SARS corona virus is a corona virus similar to MERS corona virus, also resulting in pneumonia as the most significant sign. It is therefore likely that treatments which worked on the SARS corona virus will also work at the MERS corona virus.

The Editor of the International Journal of Infectious Diseases, Dr. Eskild Petersen of Aarhus University, Denmark, explained, “The publication of this paper is important and particularly timely because the two viruses are similar and there is a high probability that a treatment which worked for SARS, also could work for MERS-CoV. Providing a review of published treatment series for SARS will make it much easier to determine possible treatments for MERS-CoV and avoid treatments which do not work.”

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Notes for editors
“Therapeutic Options for novel Coronavirus infections including Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – possible lessons from a systematic review of SARS therapy,” by Hisham Momattin, Khurram Mohammed, Alimuddin Zumla, Ziad A. Memish, Jaffar A. Al-Tawfiq, appears in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases (DOI 10.1016/j.ijid.2013.07.002), published by Elsevier on behalf of the International Society for Infectious Diseases. The article is available for free on ScienceDirect.

About the International Journal of Infectious Diseases
The International Journal of Infectious Diseases
(IJID) is published monthly by Elsevier on behalf of the International Society for Infectious Diseases. This journal is only available online. IJID welcomes manuscripts in the following categories: epidemiology, clinical diagnosis, treatment and control of infectious diseases with particular emphasis placed on those diseases that are most common in less-developed countries. IJID publishes original clinical and laboratory-based research, together with reports of clinical trials, reviews and some case reports. www.ijidonline.com

About the International Society for Infectious Diseases (ISID)
ISID
is committed to improving the care of patients with infectious diseases, the training of clinicians and researchers in infectious diseases and microbiology, and the control of infectious diseases around the world. The Society recognizes that infectious diseases cross all national and regional boundaries and that effective long-term solutions require international scientific exchange and cooperation. The Society and its members are dedicated to developing partnerships and to finding solutions to the problem of infectious diseases across the globe. ISID was created in 1986 by a merger between the International Congress on Infectious Diseases (ICID) and The International Federation on Infectious and Parasitic Diseases (IFIPD).The ICID had been established in 1983 as a scientific assembly for the exchange of research and clinical information in infectious diseases open to any interested individual. An ad-hoc Executive Committee for the ICID initiated discussions with the IFIPD that culminated in the 1986 merger of these two organizations. The 1st ICID organized by the newly created Society was held in Rio de Janeiro in 1988.e Society is composed of individual members from over 155 countries around the world. Since its inception, ISID has been dedicated to improving the care of patients with infectious diseases, the professional development and standing of clinicians and scientists in the field, and the control of infectious diseases around the world. www.isid.org

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