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.

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

Related Stories

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.

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 ...

Recommended for you

Groundbreaking investigative effort identifies gonorrhea vaccine candidates

September 19, 2017
Researchers at Oregon State University have identified a pair of proteins that show promise as the basis for a gonorrhea vaccine.

Snail fever progression linked to nitric oxide production

September 14, 2017
Bilharzia, caused by a parasitic worm found in freshwater called Schistosoma, infects around 200 million people globally and its advance can lead to death, especially in children in developing countries.

Systems analysis points to links between Toxoplasma infection and common brain diseases

September 13, 2017
More than 2 billion people - nearly one out of every three humans on earth, including about 60 million people in the United States - have a lifelong infection with the brain-dwelling parasite Toxoplasma gondii.

Study clears important hurdle toward developing an HIV vaccine

September 13, 2017
An international team of researchers has demonstrated a way of overcoming one of the major stumbling blocks that has prevented the development of a vaccine against HIV: the ability to generate immune cells that stay in circulation ...

As 'flesh-eating' Leishmania come closer, a vaccine against them does, too

September 13, 2017
Parasites that ulcerate the skin, can disfigure the face, and may fatally mutilate its victim's internal organs are creeping closer to the southern edges of the United States.

Promising clinical trial results could give doctors a new tool against drug-resistant strains of malaria parasite

September 13, 2017
Tulane University researchers have developed a new drug that is effective against non-severe cases of malaria, according to results from an FDA-supervised clinical trial published in the latest issue of The Lancet Infectious ...

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.