DOHA:A joint Qatari and Dutch research team has succeeded to culture MERS-CoV in the laboratory.
The Supreme Council of Health and the Ministry of Environment from Qatar as well as Erasmus Medical center in the Netherlands with support of the World Health Organization, successfully achieved this important scientific discovery which can increase the knowledge for prevention and control of MERS-CoV in addition to enhancing the development of diagnostic tools and production of vaccines and treatment for the virus.
In Qatar, the national efforts continue to determine the source and root of the virus transmission, resulting in a series of studies one of which yielded the virus.
Based on the recommendations of the World Health Organization, a national sero-survey will be conducted by the end of this month, to determine risk factors for MERS-CoV as well as to identify the source of the virus. The sero –survey will include screening of animals and workers.
The collaboration between Qatar, Erasmus Medical Center, and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment of the Ministry of Health in the Netherlands focuses on research cooperation and exchange of experiences and expertise as well as training of laboratory technicians for the diagnosis of the virus.
This resulted in matching laboratory results between Veterinary biotechnology laboratories under the Ministry of Environment with the Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands in virus detection by using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) techniques, which will makes the laboratories in Qatar of the first laboratories in the Middle East for the diagnosis of MERS-CoV in animal.
There have been no new human cases of the "MERS-CoV" in the State of Qatar since October 2013.
Although intensive epidemiological surveillance of this disease is undergoing in collaboration between health care providers at all levels in health centers and hospitals in the state and Department of Animal Health resources.
People at high risk such as chronic diseases or immunocompromized should avoid close contact with animals when visiting farms or barn areas where the virus is known to be potentially circulating.
For the general public, when visiting a farm or a barn, general hygiene measures, such as regular hand washing before and after touching animals, avoiding contact with sick animals, and following food hygiene practices, should be adhered to. (QNA)