New MERS coronavirus decrypted



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Scientists describe the course of the disease after MERS infection for the first time

The World Health Organization (WHO) warned only a few weeks ago of the new coronavirus: This is "a danger to the whole world," said WHO Director General Margaret Chan at the 66th World Health Assembly in Geneva. Now an international team of researchers has come together under the aegis of the University of Bonn, who worked intensively on the MERS virus and described the course of the disease for the first time using the example of a man who died in Munich in March this year, so that the new coronavirus, which is primarily prevalent in the Middle East, spreads primarily via Respiratory tract, because compared to the causative agent of the infectious disease "SARS", which is also a corona virus, the researchers found only a few viruses in the stool of patients.

WHO warns of a "danger to the whole world" According to the WHO, the new so-called "Mers-CoV" (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus) is a serious danger - according to the organization, 61 illnesses occurred by June 15 confirmed by MERS-CoV, 34 patients already died of it. It was not until the end of March in Munich that a 73-year-old patient died of the virus, who had been flown in from Germany for treatment from Abu Dhabi.

Researchers examine 73-year-old victim of the disease This case has now been closely examined by a team of researchers, predominantly made up of German doctors, and has thereby made great progress in understanding the disease - because so far, according to Prof. Christian Drosten, director of the Institute of Virology at the University Hospital Bonn only "little information about the course of the infection" was available, "furthermore, due to a lack of data, we have so far not been able to make any estimates regarding the origin and spread of the infection", according to the scientist currently in the journal "The Lancet".

United Arab Emirates man dies after 18 days The 73-year-old man from the United Arab Emirates initially had flu-like symptoms, two days later he was admitted to a clinic in Abu Dhabi, where doctors diagnosed pneumonia and Antibiotics and artificial respiration were prescribed. After there was no improvement, the patient was transferred to a clinic in Munich on the twelfth day of the illness, where his condition worsened further and finally died 18 days after the onset of the disease from blood poisoning (sepsis) and multiple organ failure.

Researchers find greatest viral load Viral load in the lower respiratory tract Using this case, the researchers could have described “the distribution of the MERS-CoV viral load among the various organs for the first time,” says Prof. Drosten. They came to the conclusion that the viral load in the lower airways was greatest. This was also confirmed by the WHO, which issued the recommendation to take virus samples from this area in patients.

Small amounts of pathogens in urine and stool surprise scientists According to the scientists, the high concentration of viruses in the lower respiratory tract would indicate that the virus is excreted primarily via the respiratory tract. In addition, the doctors had found small amounts of pathogens in the urine and stool of the patient from Abu Dhabi: “This result surprised us, since early kidney failure is described in connection with MERS-CoV cases and these viruses are found in the kidney after laboratory experiments can increase significantly, "said Prof. In addition, the low virus amounts in the urine, stool and blood samples would indicate that" the risk of infection via this route is low. "

Examination brings important insights for practice In addition, the examination of the 73-year-old brought other interesting results - especially important for the practice is the realization that the low levels of pathogens in stool clearly differ from the clinical picture of those with the SARS pathogen (severe acute respiratory Syndrome) infected patients. Until now, doctors had used the course of SARS to treat the new corona virus, which almost ten years ago had killed almost 1,000 people worldwide. Even then, Prof. Christian Drosten had played a key role in the research - the virologist had identified and described the SARS virus with his colleague Stephan Günther during his time at the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine (BNI) in Hamburg who both received the Werner Otto Foundation Prize.

Two new genomic sequences of MERS coronaviruses completely decoded In the course of the examination of the deceased patient, the researchers were also able to fully decrypt two new genomic sequences of MERS coronaviruses and, by comparing them with other cases, infer the evolution of the pathogen. As a result, according to Drosten, the "MERS-CoV pathogen should have first appeared in 2011" and since then the virologist's assumption has essentially been transmitted from person to person.

First case of MERS-CoV in summer 2012 The new "Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus" (MERS-CoV) was first detected in summer 2012, which according to the University of Bonn, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates has its origin took and later also appeared in Germany, Great Britain, Tunisia, France and Italy. Symptoms of severe respiratory disease include pneumonia and shortness of breath, and MERS-CoV infection has so far been fatal for 31 infected patients.

MERS-CoV outbreak compared to SARS still in the early phase? Compared to the course of SARS ten years ago, the MERS-CoV outbreak could still be in the early phase, as Benoit Guery and Sylvie van der Werf from Hopital Huriez in Lille, France, wrote in a comment on the current publication. Therefore, the international research community urgently needs to find and evaluate effective therapies, according to the French scientists. (No)

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