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Abstract

HOW TREATMENT AND PREVENTION OF MIDDLE EAST RESPIRATORY SYNDROME CORONAVIRUS (MERS-CoV)

Suresh Rewar*

ABSTRACT

A severe viral illness caused by a newly discovered coronavirus was first reported in the Middle East in 2012. The virus has since been named the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). The source of the virus remains unclear, but camels are a possible source. Most MERS patients developed severe acute respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath. MERS-CoV is a newly described viral disease that causes severe respiratory illness and is associated with high mortality. Since April 2012 and as of 20 February 2015, 1042 cases (including 419 deaths) of MERS-CoV have been reported by local health authorities worldwide. The majority of MERS-CoV cases are still being reported from the Arabian Peninsula, specifically from Saudi Arabia. MERS- CoV has spread from ill people to others through close contact, such as caring for or living with an infected person. Laboratory confirmation of MERS-CoV infections to date has largely been by real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) of lower respiratory tract specimens. CDC routinely advises that people help protect themselves from respiratory illnesses by taking everyday preventive actions. Neither a vaccine nor effective therapy against the virus is available. There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for MERS-CoV infection. In the case of MERS-CoV infections, interferon-alpha 3b and ribavirin may work primarily by reducing damaging inflammation of the lung and promoting healing by altering the host response, rather than directly targeting the virus.

Keywords: MERS-CoV; SARS-CoV; rRT-PCR; ribavirin and interferon.


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