Qatari with mystery virus still in critical condition: WHO

September 25, 2012

A Qatari man suffering from a new respiratory virus from the same family as the deadly SARS remains in critical condition, the World Health Organisation said Tuesday.

"He is still in critical condition" at a London hospital, Gregory Haertl, a spokesman for the United Nations health body, told reporters in Geneva.

The 49-year-old Qatari was admitted to an in Doha on September 7 suffering from and before being transferred to Britain by air ambulance on September 11, the WHO said.

A Saudi Arabian national died earlier this year from a virtually identical virus, the WHO said.

The WHO confirmed the illness was in the coronavirus family but was not SARS, or , which swept out of China in 2003, killing more than 800 people worldwide.

Haertl stressed Tuesday that the coronavirus family also includes other viruses, including the common cold, and insisted the new virus was not SARS.

"This is not SARS, it will not become SARS, and it is not SARS-like," he said, pointing out that what sets the new virus apart was that it caused rapid kidney failure.

The WHO is cooperating with national health authorities in a bid to detect other cases, and was planning to publish an update later Tuesday, Haertl said.

He stressed though that very little was known about the new virus so far, pointing out that there were only two confirmed cases, which popped up three months apart and with no connection besides the fact that both men had links to Saudi Arabia.

"We don't know yet how it transmits... if it's human to human or animal to human," he said, pointing out that the virus might also provoke milder, and therefore undetected illness.

"We are very much in an investigative period," he said.

Related Stories

Double attack on SARS

August 28, 2012

After the SARS-CoV (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus) outbreak in 2003, academia experts in immunology and molecular biology joined forces with industrial vaccine production experts in order to develop preventive ...

New SARS-like virus detected in Middle East (Update 3)

September 24, 2012

Global health officials are closely monitoring a new respiratory virus related to SARS that is believed to have killed at least one person in Saudi Arabia and left a Qatari citizen in critical condition in London.

Recommended for you

Experimental MERS vaccine shows promise in animal studies

July 28, 2015

A two-step regimen of experimental vaccines against Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) prompted immune responses in mice and rhesus macaques, report National Institutes of Health scientists who designed the vaccines. ...

Can social isolation fuel epidemics?

July 21, 2015

Conventional wisdom has it that the more people stay within their own social groups and avoid others, the less likely it is small disease outbreaks turn into full-blown epidemics. But the conventional wisdom is wrong, according ...

Lack of knowledge on animal disease leaves humans at risk

July 20, 2015

Researchers from the University of Sydney have painted the most detailed picture to date of major infectious diseases shared between wildlife and livestock, and found a huge gap in knowledge about diseases which could spread ...

IBD genetically similar in Europeans and non-Europeans

July 20, 2015

The first genetic study of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) to include individuals from diverse populations has shown that the regions of the genome underlying the disease are consistent around the world. This study, conducted ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.