National Geographic

Today at 1 pm ET: Live Discussion About the New Virus MERS

I’ll be on HuffPost Live today at 1 pm ET to talk about the new virus that has emerged in the Middle East, known now as MERS-CoV (short for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus).

This virus first came to light last summer. As I wrote here in March, the virus turned out to be a coronavirus, belonging to the same broad lineage of viruses that includes SARS. Like SARS, it appears to have hopped from bats and infects people’s lungs. So far, 44 people have been identified carrying the virus, and 24 have died.

It’s not clear yet how people are getting sick, and what potential the virus has to spread. Yesterday at the World Health Assembly in Geneva, WHO Director Margaret Chan declared, “Looking at the overall world health situation, my greatest concern right now is the novel coronavirus.”

When I started writing a lot about viruses, I didn’t think I’d stay so busy with them. I wish I wasn’t, but viruses don’t much care about such things…

Update: Here’s a video HuffPost put together from some of my comments:

There are 2 Comments. Add Yours.

  1. Dan Cameron
    May 31, 2013

    Since they’re both respiratory viruses, is the MERS virus related to the VMAT2 virus? How can one tell the difference?

  2. Craig
    April 28, 2014

    The mers is related to SARS and since a vaccine is being made for SARS could we use that information to make a vaccine for mers and if so why hasn’t one been created yet??

    [CZ: MERS and SARS are only distantly related. Antibodies to one of the viruses won't protect against the other.]

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