ResearchPad - mers Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Digesting the crisis: autophagy and coronaviruses]]> Autophagy is a catabolic pathway with multifaceted roles in cellular homeostasis. This process is also involved in the antiviral response at multiple levels, including the direct elimination of intruding viruses (virophagy), the presentation of viral antigens, the fitness of immune cells, and the inhibition of excessive inflammatory reactions. In line with its central role in immunity, viruses have evolved mechanisms to interfere with or to evade the autophagic process, and in some cases, even to harness autophagy or constituents of the autophagic machinery for their replication. Given the devastating consequences of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the question arises whether manipulating autophagy might be an expedient approach to fight the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. In this piece, we provide a short overview of the evidence linking autophagy to coronaviruses and discuss whether such links may provide actionable targets for therapeutic interventions.

<![CDATA[The Hajj pilgrimage and surveillance for Middle East Respiratory syndrome coronavirus in pilgrims from African countries]]> ]]> <![CDATA[Coronavirus infections: Epidemiological, clinical and immunological features and hypotheses]]>

Coronaviruses (CoVs) are a large family of enveloped, positive-strand RNA viruses. Four human CoVs (HCoVs), the non-severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-like HCoVs (namely HCoV 229E, NL63, OC43, and HKU1), are globally endemic and account for a substantial fraction of upper respiratory tract infections. Non-SARS-like CoV can occasionally produce severe diseases in frail subjects but do not cause any major (fatal) epidemics. In contrast, SARS like CoVs (namely SARS-CoV and Middle-East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, MERS-CoV) can cause intense short-lived fatal outbreaks. The current epidemic caused by the highly contagious SARS-CoV-2 and its rapid spread globally is of major concern. There is scanty knowledge on the actual pandemic potential of this new SARS-like virus. It might be speculated that SARS-CoV-2 epidemic is grossly underdiagnosed and that the infection is silently spreading across the globe with two consequences: (i) clusters of severe infections among frail subjects could haphazardly occur linked to unrecognized index cases; (ii) the current epidemic could naturally fall into a low-level endemic phase when a significant number of subjects will have developed immunity. Understanding the role of paucisymptomatic subjects and stratifying patients according to the risk of developing severe clinical presentations is pivotal for implementing reasonable measures to contain the infection and to reduce its mortality. Whilst the future evolution of this epidemic remains unpredictable, classic public health strategies must follow rational patterns. The emergence of yet another global epidemic underscores the permanent challenges that infectious diseases pose and underscores the need for global cooperation and preparedness, even during inter-epidemic periods.

<![CDATA[Underlying trend, seasonality, prediction, forecasting and the contribution of risk factors: an analysis of globally reported cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus]]>

This study set out to identify and analyse trends and seasonal variations of monthly global reported cases of the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). It also made a prediction based on the reported and extrapolated into the future by forecasting the trend. Finally, the study assessed contributions of various risk factors in the reported cases. The motivation for this study is that MERS-CoV remains among the list of blueprint priority and potential pandemic diseases globally. Yet, there is a paucity of empirical literature examining trends and seasonality as the available evidence is generally descriptive and anecdotal. The study is a time series analysis using monthly global reported cases of MERS-CoV by the World Health Organisation between January 2015 and January 2018. We decomposed the series into seasonal, irregular and trend components and identified patterns, smoothened series, generated predictions and employed forecasting techniques based on linear regression. We assessed contributions of various risk factors in MERS-CoV cases over time. Successive months of the MERS-CoV cases suggest a significant decreasing trend (P = 0.026 for monthly series and P = 0.047 for Quarterly series). The MERS-CoV cases are forecast to wane by end 2018. Seasonality component of the cases oscillated below or above the baseline (the centred moving average), but no association with the series over time was noted. The results revealed contributions of risk factors such as camel contact, male, old age and being from Saudi Arabia and Middle East regions to the overall reported cases of MERS-CoV. The trend component and several risk factors for global MERS-CoV cases, including camel contact, male, age and geography/region significantly affected the series. Our statistical models appear to suggest significant predictive capacity and the findings may well inform healthcare practitioners and policymakers about the underlying dynamics that produced the globally reported MERS-CoV cases.

<![CDATA[Estimating survival rates in MERS-CoV patients 14 and 45 days after experiencing symptoms and determining the differences in survival rates by demographic data, disease characteristics and regions: a worldwide study]]>

Although Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) has a recorded 5 years of circulation in 27 countries worldwide, there is no international study to assess whether there is variation in mortality by region. Neither has there been a comprehensive study detailing how the disease characteristics of MERS-CoV influence mortality in patients presenting symptoms. This study aimed to assess how region, patient and disease characteristics influence 14- and 45-day mortality in MERS patients. The author utilised publically available data on MERS-CoV. The study included 883 MERS patients reported between 5 January 2015 and 10 March 2017. Data on patient and disease characteristics were collected. The mean age at MERS-CoV diagnosis was 54.3 years: 69.1% were male, and 86.7% of the cases were reported from Saudi Arabia. About 40% of MERS patients studied were over the age of 60. The study estimated 14- and 45-day survival rates after initial onset of symptoms: 83.67% and 65.9%, respectively. Saudi Arabian MERS patients exhibited 4.1 and 5.0 times higher 14-day (adjusted hazard risk (aHR) = 4.1; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.012–16.921) and 45-day (aHR = 5.0; 95% CI 1.856–13.581) mortality risk compared with MERS patients in the Republic of Korea or other countries. Similarly, Middle Eastern MERS patients showed 5.3 and 4.1 times higher 14-day (aHR = 5.3; 95% CI 1.070–25.902) and 45-day (aHR = 4.1; 95% CI 1.288–113.076) mortality risk compared with MERS patients in the Republic of Korea or other countries. The results demonstrated a link between mortality and geography, disease and patient factors such as regions, symptoms, source of infections, underlying medical conditions, modes of transmission, non-healthcare workers and those of older age. Educational programmes, access to healthcare and early diagnosis could be implemented as modifiable factors to reduce the higher mortality rates in MERS patients.

<![CDATA[Diabetes Mellitus, Hypertension, and Death among 32 Patients with MERS-CoV Infection, Saudi Arabia]]>

Diabetes mellitus and hypertension are recognized risk factors for severe clinical outcomes, including death, associated with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus infection. Among 32 virus-infected patients in Saudi Arabia, severity of illness and frequency of death corresponded closely with presence of multiple and more severe underlying conditions.

<![CDATA[Survey on Implementation of One Health Approach for MERS-CoV Preparedness and Control in Gulf Cooperation Council and Middle East Countries]]>

In 2015, a One Health Working Group was established in Qatar to conduct a survey in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, Egypt, and Jordan to monitor preparedness of public health and veterinary health authorities in response to the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus epidemic. All but 1 country indicated they established joint One Health policy teams for investigation and response. However, the response to the questionnaires was largely limited to veterinary authorities. Critical barriers and limitations were identified. National and regional leaders, policy makers, and stakeholders should be prompted to advocate and enhance adoption of the One Health framework to mitigate the risk for Middle East respiratory syndrome and other emerging zoonotic diseases.

<![CDATA[Domestic Pig Unlikely Reservoir for MERS-CoV]]>

We tested the suitability of the domestic pig as a model for Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection. Inoculation did not cause disease, but a low level of virus replication, shedding, and seroconversion were observed. Pigs do not recapitulate human MERS-CoV and are unlikely to constitute a reservoir in nature.

<![CDATA[Feasibility of Using Convalescent Plasma Immunotherapy for MERS-CoV Infection, Saudi Arabia]]>

Efficacy testing will be challenging because of the small pool of donors with sufficiently high antibody titers.

<![CDATA[Time Course of MERS-CoV Infection and Immunity in Dromedary Camels]]>

Knowledge about immunity to Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in dromedary camels is essential for infection control and vaccination. A longitudinal study of 11 dam–calf pairs showed that calves lose maternal MERS-CoV antibodies 5–6 months postparturition and are left susceptible to infection, indicating a short window of opportunity for vaccination.

<![CDATA[MERS epidemiological investigation to detect potential mode of transmission in the 178th MERS confirmed case in Pyeongtaek, Korea]]>

Most cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) infection in Korea (outbreak: May 11-July 4, 2015) occurred in hospital settings, with uncertain transmission modes in some cases. We performed an in-depth investigation epidemiological survey on the 178th case to determine the precise mode of transmission. A 29- year-old man living in Pyeongtaek presented on June 16 with a febrile sensation, chills, and myalgia. Upon confirmatory diagnosis on June 23, he was treated in an isolation room and discharged on July 2 after cure. An epidemiological investigation of all possible infection routes indicated two likely modes of transmission: exposure to MERS in Pyeongtaek St. Mary’s Hospital during a visit to his hospitalized father (May 18-29), and infection through frequent contact with his father between the latter’s referral to Pyeongtaek Good Samaritan Bagae Hospital for treatment without confirmatory diagnosis until his death (May 29-June 6). Although lack of clear proof or evidence to the contrary does not allow a definitive conclusion, all other possibilities could be excluded by epidemiological inferences. While it is impossible to trace back the modes of transmission of all cases in a large-scale outbreak, case-by-case tracking and isolation of infected individuals and those in close contact with them is important in preventing the spread. Efforts should be made to establish a methodology for rapid tracking of all possible contacts and elimination-based identification of the precise modes of transmission.

<![CDATA[Serologic Assessment of Possibility for MERS-CoV Infection in Equids]]> ]]> <![CDATA[Kinetics of Serologic Responses to MERS Coronavirus Infection in Humans, South Korea]]>

We investigated the kinetics of serologic responses to Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection by using virus neutralization and MERS-CoV S1 IgG ELISA tests. In most patients, robust antibody responses developed by the third week of illness. Delayed antibody responses with the neutralization test were associated with more severe disease.

<![CDATA[Epidemiological investigation of the 119th confirmed Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus case with an indefinite mode of transmission during the Pyeongtaek outbreak in Korea]]>

Since the first case was diagnosed on May 20, 2015, there were 186 confirmed cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) until the end of outbreak in South Korea. Although medical institutions were the most identifiable sources of MERS transmission in South Korea, similar to other countries, in-depth epidemiological investigation was required for some confirmed cases with indefinite contact history or hospital visit records. The subject of epidemiological investigation in the present study was a 35 year-old male patient diagnosed with MERS (#119) who lived in Asan-city and worked in Pyeongtaek-city. Various potential sources of transmission were carefully investigated. While he could have been exposed to MERS through a friend from Saudi Arabia or confirmed MERS cases in his workplace, neighboring areas, and medical institutions, as well as contacts in his home, the chances of transmission were low; however, the potential for transmission through his local community could not be excluded. Practically, it was difficult to determine the modes of transmission for all outbreak cases in communicable disease that occurred in this short period of time. The investigation to identify the mode of transmission in this case was ultimately unsuccessful. However, the various data collected and analyzed to reveal modes of transmission provided detailed information that could not be collected using only interview surveys.

<![CDATA[MERS-CoV Antibodies in Humans, Africa, 2013–2014]]>

Dromedaries in Africa and elsewhere carry the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). To search for evidence of autochthonous MERS-CoV infection in humans, we tested archived serum from livestock handlers in Kenya for MERS-CoV antibodies. Serologic evidence of infection was confirmed for 2 persons sampled in 2013 and 2014.

<![CDATA[Association of Higher MERS-CoV Virus Load with Severe Disease and Death, Saudi Arabia, 2014]]>

More data are needed to determine whether modulation of virus load by therapeutic agents affects clinical outcomes.

<![CDATA[Surveillance operation for the 141st confirmed case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus in response to the patient’s prior travel to Jeju Island]]>

The provincial government of Jeju, South Korea, was notified that a 42-year-old man infected with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus had gone sightseeing in Jeju Island. Although the visiting period might be interpreted as the incubation period of MERS, the province decided to conduct active surveillance to prevent a worst-case scenario. Based on the channel of movement of the patient, healthy isolation and active monitoring were conducted for persons who came in contact with the patient. During the active surveillance, none of the 56 persons in self-isolation and 123 persons under active monitoring became infected. This fact supports that MERS is not contagious during the incubation period.

<![CDATA[Enhanced MERS Coronavirus Surveillance of Travelers from the Middle East to England]]>

During the first year of enhanced MERS coronavirus surveillance in England, 77 persons traveling from the Middle East had acute respiratory illness and were tested for the virus. Infection was confirmed in 2 travelers with acute respiratory distress syndrome and 2 of their contacts. Patients with less severe manifestations tested negative.

<![CDATA[Preventive behaviors by the level of perceived infection sensitivity during the Korea outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome in 2015]]>


This study was performed to investigate the relationship between community residents’ infection sensitivity and their levels of preventive behaviors during the 2015 Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) outbreak in Korea.


Seven thousands two hundreds eighty one participants from nine areas in Gyeonggi-do including Pyeongtaek, the origin of the outbreak in 2015 agreed to participate in the survey and the data from 6,739 participants were included in the final analysis. The data on the perceived infection sensitivity were subjected to cluster analysis. The levels of stress, reliability/practice of preventive behaviors, hand washing practice and policy credibility during the outbreak period were analyzed for each cluster.


Cluster analysis of infection sensitivity due to the MERS outbreak resulted in classification of participants into four groups: the non-sensitive group (14.5%), social concern group (17.4%), neutral group (29.1%), and overall sensitive group (39.0%). A logistic regression analysis found that the overall sensitive group with high sensitivity had higher stress levels (17.80; 95% confidence interval [CI], 13.77 to 23.00), higher reliability on preventive behaviors (5.81; 95% CI, 4.84 to 6.98), higher practice of preventive behaviors (4.53; 95% CI, 3.83 to 5.37) and higher practice of hand washing (2.71; 95% CI, 2.13 to 3.43) during the outbreak period, compared to the non-sensitive group.


Infection sensitivity of community residents during the MERS outbreak correlated with gender, age, occupation, and health behaviors. When there is an outbreak in the community, there is need to maintain a certain level of sensitivity while reducing excessive stress, as well as promote the practice of preventive behaviors among local residents. In particular, target groups need to be notified and policies need to be established with a consideration of the socio-demographic characteristics of the community.

<![CDATA[Replication and Shedding of MERS-CoV in Upper Respiratory Tract of Inoculated Dromedary Camels]]>

Camels infected with MERS-CoV show few symptoms and likely transmit the virus to humans and other camels through respiratory secretions.