Via Arab News, an April 11 report: Common action plan to combat MERS. Excerpt:
Experts have agreed to set a common research protocol to be enforced by all countries regarding the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV).
Abdullah Asiri, assistant deputy minister for preventive medicine, made this statement at the conclusion of a consultative meeting hosted by the Ministry of Health regarding the respiratory disease.
He said the protocol will develop a future action plan to complete the necessary information needed to reach a comprehensive understanding of the disease. He added that the protocol would indicate the research methodology, type of questions and the targeted individuals for research.
Asiri said a large number of specialists in the field of disease epidemiology had participated in the meeting to discuss the current status of coronavirus. He said specialists are investigating the cases of those who died from the disease to find out how the disease was transmitted to them and to ascertain whether it was transmitted from the environment or via animals.
He said that several countries will conduct their own studies and then the data and studies will be collected from different countries to draw up a comprehensive overview about the disease.
The official noted that experts are still struggling to understand the disease and research efforts are still insufficient. He said that the link between camels and coronavirus among humans has not been determined conclusively yet, even though the virus is present in camels.
He pointed out that studies are under way to determine whether camels are responsible for transmitting the disease to humans. He said there were doubts whether the strain of virus existing in camels is the same that is affecting humans. He said that until a conclusive outcome is reached in this regard, no action could be taken.
Experts from the WHO, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, FAO as well as a number of representatives from countries that have reported the incidence of coronavirus attended the meeting.