MOH News
Dr. Asiri: “The Kingdom Is the First Source of Instructions and Advices Issued from the WHO about Coronavirus”
04 March 2014
The Assistant Deputy Minister for Preventive Health, Dr. Abdullah Asiri, unveiled that the Kingdom’s experience is the first source of all instructions and advices issued from the World Health Organization (WHO). He also said that all researches, studies and meetings concerning (Coronavirus) are organized in the Kingdom, which highlights that its efforts in this field are appreciated.
Dr. Asiri pointed out that the efforts of the Ministry of Health in investigating the disease have been posted on the WHO website and forwarded to the agencies concerned with the issue of (Coronavirus). In conclusion of events of the consultative meeting hosted by MOH regarding Coronavirus on the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), Dr. Asiri stressed that experts agreed to set a common research protocol that is bound by all countries. The said protocol will handle all aspects related to the disease. This step aims to develop a future action plan for completing the necessary information to reach a comprehensive understanding of the disease.
He added that the protocol will indicate methodology of research, the type of questions, and the targeted persons for conducting research thereon. Moreover, Dr. Asiri said that a workshop will be organized for researchers in the future, referring that the mission of conducting the study in a specific country will fall under the responsibility of that country. However, results of the study will be controlled by the concerned country, whilst sharing them with the other countries will be done in coordination with the WHO.
Moreover, Dr. Asiri underscored that a large number of specialists in the field of disease epidemiology had participated in the meeting to discuss the current status of Coronavirus and investigate the confirmed cases of infection to find out methods of disease transmission, i.e. whether it is transmitted from the environment or animals if an animal factor is involved. He also pointed out that all procedures will be applied on several stages where each country will conduct its own studies, and then all data and studies results will be collected from the different countries to draw up a comprehensive overview about the disease.
However, The Assistant Deputy Minister for Preventive Health highlighted that research up till now is still insufficient in some countries in terms of the epidemiological investigation or sending of samples. He assured that the link between camels and Coronavirus diseases among humans has not be determined conclusively yet, noting that the virus is present in camels.
Dr. Asiri explained that there are questions still raised on the animal and whether it is the reason behind transmitting infection to humans. And also, is the virus existing in camels of the same strain as found in humans or is it another strain of the same virus? He clarified that such conclusions were reached after conducting comprehensive studies on all confirmed cases of the virus and asking them about all activities they have done two weeks prior to getting infected, as it is believed that the disease incubates during this period.
Dr. Asiri pointed out that all details of this study will definitely specify whether there is a link between camels and transmission of Coronavirus to humans or not. He said that till an outcome is reached in this regard, no procedures will be taken because they may economically or socially impact people without solid proof on transmission of the disease and the major cause of it.
It is worth mentioning that the said meeting was attended by experts from the WHO, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and FAO as well as a number of representatives of some countries that reported Coronavirus cases; mostly of the Gulf and Arab states.

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