Via ScienceInsider, an article by Kai Kupferschmidt and starring Dr. Ian Mackay: Research teams clash over too-similar MERS papers. Excerpt (but read the whole thing, which is a solid account of a lovely science scandal):
A great story can be told again and again. But scientists working on the deadly Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) virus are puzzled by two papers appearing in separate journals that not only tell the same story, but also are based on data from the very same patient in Saudi Arabia.
The double publication—the first in Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID), the other later in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM)—has pitted Saudi Arabia's former deputy minister of health, Ziad Memish, against infectious diseases specialist Tariq Madani of King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, who recently became the Saudi government's chief scientific adviser on MERS. Caught in the uncomfortable middle is German virologist Christian Drosten of the University of Bonn, who helped both and became a co-author on Memish's paper.
To make matters more complicated, several scientists, including Drosten, say the central conclusion of the NEJM paper—that the MERS virus jumped from a camel to a human at a Saudi farm—is flawed and most likely the result of lab contamination.
The case is another example of the complex politics of MERS research in Saudi Arabia, says Ian Mackay, a virologist at the University of Queensland, St. Lucia, in Australia, who first highlighted the similarities between the two papers on his blog on 5 June. "It typifies what MERS has been all about: very poor communication.”