Monday, 12 August 2013

Camels being tested for MERS-CoV by Saudi Arabia?

An article on arabnews.com has Prof Ziad Memish saying that the Ministry of Health has "subjected samples from camels and sheep to lab tests" (not the long-delayed batch of samples Ian Lipkin recently received?).

Hopefully that means PCR-based testing with any of the various assays publicly available. 


The article notes the results will be announced after tests are completed.

This sounds a lot like reaction to the recent Lancet paper that found antibodies in dromedary or "Arabian" camels...the article does not note whether this is an ongoing study. Notably, camels were implicated early on the in the MERS-CoV outbreak.
These new data will be very important in placing the Lancet article into context.

As Professor Marion Koopmans noted to me on Saturday,


"..we tried to rule out cross reactivity, and would not have published if we were not fairly sure that this is the case, but we will know for sure if someone finds the virus that triggers these antibodies."
Perhaps these will be the findings.