Sunday, July 7, 2013

Coronavirus: New virus 'not yet global threat'

By James Gallagher

The deadly coronavirus that emerged last year does not currently appear to be infectious enough to pose a global threat, researchers say.

Their analysis of 55 cases of Middle East respiratory-syndrome coronavirus, published in the Lancet, indicated the virus struggled to spread in people.

But the virus may be mutating, which means it could become a much greater threat.

It is similar to viruses that cause Sars and the common cold.

So far there have been 77 confirmed cases and 41 deaths. Most infections come from an unidentified animal source, but there have been cases in which the virus has spread between people.

On Friday it was revealed that the World Health Organization has convened a telephone conference of its International Health Relations Emergency Committee next week.

The committee has only met once before ,during the 2009 H1N1 flu outbreak.

It said the meeting was a proactive approach, rather than a sign the situation was escalating.

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