MOH News

Watson: “CDC Is an Active Partner with MOH in Addressing Coronavirus”
12 November 2015
A member of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Mr. John Watson, has underscored that ‎CDC is an active partner with Ministry of Health (MOH) in addressing the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV). "This week, we met with the MOH colleagues to discuss joint activities scheduled for the upcoming months, and our main objective is to have a broad knowledge about this virus; in an endeavor to be able to prevent its outbreak," he added.
During his current visit to the Kingdom to be acquainted with the precautionary and preventive actions applied by MOH to control MERS-CoV, Mr. Watson stated: “The Center provides support for a lot of projects with MOH; to learn more about MERS-CoV. One of these projects is collecting laboratory samples from MERS-CoV patients; with a view to find out how the virus is transmitted from one person to another, and when the patient is completely cured.” He added that they also are closely monitoring the virus itself; to be aware of any changes in the virus structure or effect, and we are interested also in identifying infection risk factors.
“This is a challenge; nonetheless there is significant progress in researches to discover a vaccine against this virus. Before we try to find any new vaccine, it is also important to understand as much as possible how infection is transmitted, and what nature of the virus is. This information can help us in finding the right vaccine in the future,” Watson underlined regarding the latest updates on finding a MERS-CoV vaccine.
Furthermore, he pointed out that the onset of MERS-CoV primary cases are likely to continue; due to the direct contact with camels in Saudi Arabia. “However, most of the infected cases among humans are transmitted within health facilities; so we must intensify the prevention efforts at hospitals. Thanks to the MOH’s significant efforts, we have noticed an improvement in this regard, compared to last year, by means of better understanding of the virus and its transmission factors, the matter which helps improve the efforts of prevention against the virus” said Watson.
For her part, a CDC Member, Susan Gerber, highlighted that MERS-CoV is likely transmitted through contacting with infected camels. Although, there could be other sources of infection, but there is strong evidence that the virus can infect humans through camels. Therefore, there is a lot to learn about the nature of human direct contact with camels, which may result in infection of some people with the virus.
During her current visit to the Kingdom, Gerber pointed out that Saudi Control and Command Centre (CCC) exerts great efforts in monitoring reported cases, recording and analyzing their data. Hence, this makes us feel that the strong coordination of CCC is the primary key for controlling response to and addressing MERS-CoV.
She explained that CDC observed a significant progress with regard to MERS-CoV over the past year; especially the strong and ongoing coordination with CCC, the significant improvement of identification of the infection control precautions and their rapid execution, and most importantly the surveillance data collection and cases investigation electronically; the matter which is currently available for analysis and reviewing.
She emphasized that the MOH adopts the transparency and clarity approach with regard to MERS-CoV. “MOH keeps in contact with CDC; particularly with respect to MERS-CoV outbreaks, the efforts which we appreciate, meanwhile hoping to continue working together for better understanding of this virus and preventing its outbreak,” Gerber said.

Last Update : 23 November 2015 03:49 PM
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