Wednesday, August 21, 2013

EID Journal: Detection Of MERS-CoV In Saudi Arabian Bat



Credit Wikipedia

# 7588


A story that I’m sure we are going to be hearing a good deal more about in the coming days is a dispatch that appears in today’s EID Journal announcing than an international team – including Saudi researchers led by Deputy Health Minister Ziad A. Memish, Dr. Ian Lipkin’s team at Columbia University, and researchers from EcoHealth Alliance -  have found a virus from a bat in Saudi Arabia that they call `A 100% genetic match’ to the MERS Coronavirus.


Additional animal testing is ongoing, and we are likely to see more results announced in the coming days and weeks – but this represents the first detection of the MERS coronavirus in an animal host.


In this study a live virus was not isolated, but rather a genetic match was determined using PCR amplification of a portion of the virus. Still, the researchers appear very confident they have a match. 

First a link to the study, followed by a press release from Columbia University, and then on to Helen Branswell’s report for the Canadian Press.


Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus in Bats, Saudi Arabia

Ziad A. Memish, Nischay Mishra, Kevin J. Olival, Shamsudeen F. Fagbo, Vishal Kapoor, Jonathan H. Epstein, Rafat AlHakeem, Mushabab Al Asmari, Ariful Islam, Amit Kapoor, Thomas Briese, Peter Daszak, Abdullah A. Al Rabeeah, and W. Ian LipkinComments to Author

The source of human infection with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus remains unknown. Molecular investigation indicated that bats in Saudi Arabia are infected with several alphacoronaviruses and betacoronaviruses. Virus from 1 bat showed 100% nucleotide identity to virus from the human index case-patient. Bats might play a role in human infection.

(Continue . . .)


This from the newsroom at Columbia University.


MERS Virus Discovered in Bat Near Site of Outbreak in Saudi Arabia

Posted 8/21/2013 10:04:37 AM

First Study of MERS Animal Host in Saudi Arabia; Led by Columbia University, EcoHealth Alliance, and the Ministry of Health of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Image courtesy of Jonathan H. Epstein/EcoHealth Alliance

NEW YORK (August 21, 2013) A 100% genetic match for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) has been discovered in an insect-eating bat in close proximity to the first known case of the disease in Saudi Arabia. The discovery points to the likely animal origin for the disease, although researchers say that an intermediary animal is likely also involved.


Led by team of investigators from the Center for Infection and Immunity (CII) at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, EcoHealth Alliance, and the Ministry of Health of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the study is the first to search for an animal reservoir for MERS in Saudi Arabia, and the first to identify such a reservoir by finding a genetic match in an animal. Results appear online in Emerging Infectious Diseases, a journal of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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And last, but far from least, this report from Helen Branswell.


MERS virus isolated from bat; other animal may be involved in spread

Helen Branswell / The Canadian Press
August 21, 2013

Scientists from Saudi Arabia and the United States have found the MERS coronavirus in a bat in Saudi Arabia.


The scientists are reporting the finding in a paper published online today.


While bats have been suspected to be the reservoir of the new virus, this is the first time a match for the human virus has been found in an animal.

(Continue . . .)


I expect Helen will have an expanded version of this story later today or tomorrow, so check back.