New mystery virus not easily transmitted: WHO

September 28, 2012

A new mysterious respiratory virus that has killed at least one person and left another in critical condition does not appear very contagious, the World Health Organisation said Friday.

"From the information available thus far, it appears that the novel coronavirus cannot be easily transmitted from person to person," the WHO said in a statement.

WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl told reporters in Geneva that rapid progress was being made in characterising the disease and developing diagnostic tests, which would be made available as quickly as possible.

The origin of the new virus was still unknown, he said.

The UN health agency has previously confirmed that the new illness was in the coronavirus family, which also includes the deadly as well as the common cold.

The new virus however is different from SARS, especially in that it causes rapid .

The new virus has caused the death of a Saudi national and has also left a Qatari man seriously ill in a London hospital after he was transferred there from Doha earlier this month, the WHO previously reported, adding that he had also been in Saudi Arabia.

The two known cases surfaced three months apart and there was no clear connection between the two men.

"Given the severity of the two laboratory confirmed cases, WHO is continuing to monitor the situation in order to provide the appropriate response, expertise and support to its member states," Friday's statement said.

WHO said that tests for the were currently available at some of its partner laboratories for patients under investigation.

With pilgrims already arriving in Saudi Arabia for the upcoming Hajj pilgrimage, the WHO reiterated Friday that it was not yet recommending travel or trade restrictions for the Saudi kingdom or Qatar.

"WHO is working closely with the national authorities of the involved countries (Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom) and international partners in order to better understand the from the novel coronavirus," the agency said.

Explore further: WHO advising Saudis on virus ahead of Hajj

Related Stories

WHO advising Saudis on virus ahead of Hajj

September 26, 2012
The UN health agency said Wednesday it knew of no more cases in the Gulf of a mystery illness from the same virus family as the deadly SARS but was advising Saudi Arabia ahead of the upcoming Hajj pilgrimage.

Saudi downplays impact of mystery virus on Hajj

September 25, 2012
Saudi health authorities downplayed Tuesday the impact of a possible outbreak of a virus from the family of deadly SARS on its forthcoming Hajj pilgrimage, stressing that the cases remain rare.

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.

WHO urges docs to watch for new SARS-like virus

September 27, 2012
(AP)—Global health officials have alerted doctors to be on the lookout for a virus related to SARS but said there were no signs the disease was behaving like the respiratory syndrome that killed hundreds in 2003.

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.

Patients in Denmark not suffering from new virus: hospital

September 26, 2012
Five people in isolation in a Danish hospital are suffering from a typical influenza strain and not a new SARS-like respiratory illness as feared, the Odense University Hospital said Wednesday.

Recommended for you

How hepatitis C hides in the body

October 13, 2017
The Hepatitis C (HCV) virus is a sly enemy to have in one's body. Not only does it manage to make itself invisible to the immune system by breaking down communication between the immune cells, it also builds secret virus ...

Largest study yet of malaria in Africa shows historical rates of infection

October 12, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers with members from the Kenya Medical Research Institute, the University of Oxford and the University of KwaZulu-Natal has conducted the largest-ever study of the history of malaria ...

Promising new target for treatment of psoriasis is safe, study shows

October 11, 2017
A protein known to play a significant role in the development of psoriasis can be prevented from functioning without posing a risk to patients, scientists at King's College London have found.

Norovirus evades immune system by hiding out in rare gut cells

October 11, 2017
Noroviruses are the leading cause of non-bacterial gastroenteritis in the world and are estimated to cause 267 million infections and 20,000 deaths each year. This virus causes severe diarrhea, nausea, and stomach pain.

Research reveals how rabies can induce frenzied behavior

October 11, 2017
Scientists may finally understand how the rabies virus can drastically change its host's behavior to help spread the disease, which kills about 59,000 people annually.

Experimental Ebola vaccines elicit year-long immune response

October 11, 2017
Results from a large randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial in Liberia show that two candidate Ebola vaccines pose no major safety concerns and can elicit immune responses by one month after initial vaccination that ...

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.