MOH News
Deemed a New Scientific Breakthrough, MOH Manages to Identify the Corona Pathogen
22 August 2013
A team of scholars from the Saudi Ministry of Health (MOH), in cooperation with the U.S. Colombia University and EcoLab Inc., have managed to identify and isolate the pathogen of MERS-CoV from a specimen formerly extracted from a bat; which is reckoned a scientific breakthrough, to be added to the Ministry's impressive scientific achievements, which, in turn, contribute to the global endeavors to identify pathogens of the various viruses.
 
It is worth mentioning, in this regard, that a recent study has been conducted by using molecular weight (MW) of polymers on specimens collected from 96 live bats from seven different species, in addition to 732 specimens from the remains of bats in Saudi regions where confirmed MERS-CoV cases had been detected. The study has come up with the conclusion that only one specimen from a live insect-eater bat has been proven to contain a genome 100% identical to the MERS-CoV, which was diagnosed in the first Coronavirus case recorded in the KSA.
 
The study indicated, besides, that 28% of the collected and examined specimens contain various strains of Coronavirus. Another conclusion scholars got to come up with, is that bats are able to incubate several viruses such as the rabies virus, SARS, and Hendra virus, and that the existence of a genome identical to MERS-CoV makes bats a potential incubator of the virus.
 
Scholars have pointed out that, in the light of the expanded spread of confirmed cases among humans at a wide geographical area, there is a strong possibility that other animals carry the virus, even though this possibility is still in need of further evidence and extensive research. According to the research team, it is of high importance to study ways of viral transmission from incubators to humans (i.e., animals that might act as intermediates between bats and humans).
 
It is noteworthy, the research team which prepared the aforementioned study conducted field visits, which lasted for six weeks in October 2012 and April 2013. Through these visits, the team managed to collect over 1000 specimens from 7 various species of bats living in the Kingdom's regions where confirmed MERS-CoV human cases had been recorded. Scholars are currently involved in recording the results of other studies conducted on the specimens of diverse animals.
 
 



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