Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 8:18 am
The source? Signs of the Middle East respiratory syndrome virus have been detected in camels on the Arabian Peninsula. But it's still a mystery how people catch the disease.
Credit Sean Gallup / Getty Images
A mysterious disease in the Middle East has triggered international alarms for two big reasons. The virus is often deadly: It has killed almost half of the 114 people known to have caught it. And there's no clear treatment for it.
Now scientists might have made some progress toward fixing that second problem.
A combination of two drugs commonly used for other viral infections reduced the symptoms of the Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS, in monkeys, virologists report Sunday in the journal Nature Medicine.
Melissa Block has an exit interview with Kelly McEvers, who's ending a grueling years-long assignment in the Middle East that included coverage of Iraq, Syria and beyond. McEvers and her NPR colleague Deborah Amos, won four major awards in 2012 for coverage of the Syrian conflict.
Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 5:09 am
So cute, but not cuddly. The Egyptian tomb bat, <em>Taphozous perforatus</em>, is a likely carrier of the Middle East respiratory syndrome virus, or MERS.
Credit Courtesy of Jonathan H. Epstein/EcoHealth Alliance
For nearly a year, disease detectives around the world have been trying to track down the source of a mysterious new virus in the Middle East that has infected 96 people and killed 47 since September.
Now it looks like they've pinpointed at least one place where the virus is hiding out.
Scientists at Columbia University have detected the Middle East respiratory syndrome virus, or MERS, in a bat near the home of a man who died from the disease. The team found a small fragment of the virus's genes in the animal that matches perfectly with those seen in the patient.