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MERS Coronavirus

Middle East respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus (MERS-CoV) was first reported in 2012 after genome sequencing of a virus isolated from human sputum samples taken from a patient with flu-like symptoms and it has since spread rapidly. Since 2012, MERS-CoV has caused over 800 deaths in 27 countries with Saudi Arabia being the most affected. It is an acute respiratory disease and often leads to pneumonia and renal failure, very similar to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) caused by another coronavirus, SARS-CoV.

MERS-CoV is one of several viruses identified by WHO as a likely cause of a future epidemic and is listed for urgent research and development. The high case fatality rate, vaguely defined epidemiology, and absence of prophylactic or therapeutic measures against this novel virus have created an urgent need for an effective vaccine should an outbreak expand to pandemic proportions.

MERS Coronavirus Background

MERS-CoV was first reported in 2012 after genome sequencing of a virus isolated from human sputum samples taken from a patient with flu-like symptoms and it has since spread rapidly (Al-Amri et al., 2017). Since 2012, MERS-CoV has caused over 800 deaths in 27 countries with Saudi Arabia being the most affected (Hashem et al., 2019). It is an acute respiratory disease and often leads to pneumonia and renal failure, very similar to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) caused by another coronavirus, SARS-CoV.

Like SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV is a zoonotic virus transmitted from animals to humans. The evolutionary origins of MERS-CoV are unknown but evidence suggests that insectivorous bats are likely to be the original source (Anthony et al., 2017). MERS-CoV and its neutralizing antibodies have also been detected in dromedary camels, which act as a reservoir host (Reusken et al., 2013) and both bat-to-human and camel-to-human transmission is possible.

MERS-CoV is one of several viruses identified by WHO as a likely cause of a future epidemic and is listed for urgent research and development. The high case fatality rate, vaguely defined epidemiology, and absence of prophylactic or therapeutic measures against this novel virus have created an urgent need for an effective vaccine should an outbreak expand to pandemic proportions.

References

  • Anthony et al. (2017). Further Evidence for Bats as the Evolutionary Source of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus. Bio. 4;8(2). PMID: 28377531
  • Wang et al. (2015). Evaluation of candidate vaccine approaches for MERS-CoV. Nat Commun. 28;6:7712. PMID: 26218507
  • Reusken et al. (2013). Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus neutralising serum antibodies in dromedary camels: a comparative serological study. Lancet Infect Dis. 13(10):859-66. PMID: 23933067
  • Al-Amri et al. (2017). Immunogenicity of Candidate MERS-CoV DNA Vaccines Based on the Spike Protein. Sci Rep. 23;7:44875. PMID: 28332568
  • Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). World Health Organization.

MERS Coronavirus Antigens

The Native Antigen Company have produced a recombinant MERS-CoV Spike protein in our mammalian cell expression system. This protein is suitable for use in assay development, vaccine research and as antigens for the preparation of antibodies.

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