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HKU-PRP steps up research on MERS coronavirus

Having developed a sensitive and specific assay for detecting antibodies to Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), based on the production of pseudotyped particles, we now report that MERS-CoV, or a very closely related virus has been circulating in dromedaries in Saudi Arabia for over two decades, whereas initial results on a small number of sera indicate that Australian dromedary camels may be free of MERS-CoV.

This work has been published in Eurosurveillance journal: Seroepidemiology of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronavirus in Saudi Arabia (1993) and Australia (2014) and characterisation of assay specificity. Hemida M, Perera R, Al Jassim R, Kayali G, Siu L, Wang P, Chu K, Perlman S, Ali M, Alnaeem A, Guan Y, Poon L, Saif L, Peiris M. Euro Surveill. 2014 Jun 12;19(23). pii: 20828. No abstract available.

More on MERS-CoV research can be found at:

MERS Coronavirus in Dromedary Camel Herd, Saudi Arabia. Hemida MG, Chu DK, Poon LL, Perera RA, Alhammadi MA, Ng HY, Siu LY, Guan Y, Alnaeem A, Peiris M. Emerg Infect Dis. 2014 Jul;20(7). doi: 10.3201/eid2007.140571.

MERS Coronaviruses in Dromedary Camels, Egypt. Chu DK, Poon LL, Gomaa MM, Shehata MM, Perera RA, Abu Zeid D, El Rifay AS, Siu LY, Guan Y, Webby RJ, Ali MA, Peiris M, Kayali G. Emerg Infect Dis. 2014 Jun;20(6):1049-53. doi: 10.3201/eid2006.140299.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus seroprevalence in domestic livestock in Saudi Arabia, 2010 to 2013. Hemida MG, Perera RA, Wang P, Alhammadi MA, Siu LY, Li M, Poon LL, Saif L, Alnaeem A, Peiris M. Euro Surveill. 2013 Dec 12;18(50):20659.

Seroepidemiology for MERS coronavirus using microneutralisation and pseudoparticle virus neutralisation assays reveal a high prevalence of antibody in dromedary camels in Egypt, June 2013. Perera RA, Wang P, Gomaa MR, El-Shesheny R, Kandeil A, Bagato O, Siu LY, Shehata MM, Kayed AS, Moatasim Y, Li M, Poon LL, Guan Y, Webby RJ, Ali MA, Peiris JS, Kayali G. Euro Surveill. 2013 Sep 5;18(36):pii=20574.


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