June 18, 2013
MERS Coronavirus Spreading Like Wildfire, New 10-Minute Test Diagnoses Cases
Lawrence LeBlond for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
As the MERS-Coronavirus continues to spread, it seems little can be done to keep the virus at bay. In the past week the World Health Organization (WHO) has reported nine new cases of the virus. The global total for MERS-CoV now stands at 64 laboratory-confirmed cases and 38 deaths.
All nine new cases have been reported to the WHO by the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Health.
On June 14, the Ministry reported three new cases of MERS-CoV. The first patient was a 63-year-old woman with underlying medical conditions from the Eastern region. The second patient was a 75-year-old male with underlying medical conditions from Al-Ahsa governate. The third patient was a 21-year-old male from Hafar Al-Batin governate who died from his infection.
On June 15, the Ministry reported three additional cases. The first patient was a 45-year-old man with underlying medical conditions from Taif governate. He is listed in critical condition. The second patient was a 68-year-old woman with underlying medical conditions, also from the Taif governate, and also in critical condition. The third patient was 46-year-old male from Wadi Al-Dawaser who died from his infection shortly after being admitted on June 8.
On June 17, the Ministry reported three additional cases to the WHO. The first patient was a 42-year-old man with underlying medical conditions from the Eastern region. The second patient was a 63-year-old woman with underlying medical conditions from Riyadh. The third patient was a two-year-old child with underlying medical conditions.
The Ministry has also reported an additional four deaths from previous lab-confirmed cases.
In related news, a new diagnostic test has been developed that is said to detect MERS-Coronavirus in as little as 10 minutes. The test will be featured at the Abu Dhabi Medical Congress and Exhibition later this year.
For the first time, a unique workshop will be hosted at the upcoming Medical Congress to discuss the use of the new isothermal DNA amplification and detection diagnostics test. The developers said the new test can be done in the field with no need for well-equipped laboratories or qualified medical personnel.
“Holding a session of this nature during the Abu Dhabi Medical Congress will give an overview about how to react fast during outbreaks and how to develop a point-of-care diagnostics in the region. Early diagnosis of the infectious agents helps to diminish their impact by adequate outbreak management such as isolation of infected patients and movement restrictions,” Dr. Ahmed Abd El Wahed, from Germany´s Institute of Virology at the University of Goettingen, told Khaleej Times.
The test will provide ample time for healthcare professionals to determine the course of treatment by identifying the virus in its early stages and may allow for better patient outcomes.
“On a global level, infectious diseases (ID) are a leading cause of death, and the level is equivalent to the number of people dying from cardiovascular diseases,” said Professor Frank Hufert, Centre for Hygiene and Human Genetics Division Chief of Virology at University of Goettingen.
“It has been estimated nearly two-thirds (61 per cent) of all human infectious diseases and 75 per cent of all emerging diseases (EID) are of animal origin. Today, the high mobility of people, animals and goods through progressing globalization results in an increasing risk of EID and all kind of ID. The growing world population, increasing poverty and an accumulation of people living in uncontrolled developing mega-cities highly support the dissemination and occurrence of any type of ID, even those known to occur in remote areas only,” he told Khaleej Times.
The Abu Dhabi Medical Congress will be held at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre from October 27 to 29, 2013.