facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Doctors find promising MERS-blocking antibodies

Scientists believe MERS crosses from camels to humans, but there is concern that the virus could evolve to jump from human to human.
By Brooks Hays   |   April 28, 2014 at 7:16 PM   |   Comments

HONG KONG, April 28 (UPI) -- Researchers in China have identified two promising antibodies capable of blocking MERS infection -- a bit of hopeful news for health officials after MERS-related deaths topped the 100 mark in Saudi Arabia over the weekend.

According to research by doctors at China's Tsinghua University and Sichuan University, as well as the University of Hong Kong, antibodies MERS-4 and MERS-27 were both able to block a vital virus protein from interacting with the cellular receptor that allows MERS to take hold.

Doctors published the details of their search for a potential MERS cure in the latest issue of the journal Science Translational Medicine. The researchers hope their findings can be used to quickly develop a vaccine or effective treatment.

MERS is a type of coronavirus, similar to the SARS virus that swept across Asia and the rest of the world in 2003, killing 800 people. Since Middle East Respiratory Syndrome was identified in 2012, 102 victims in Saudi Arabia have been killed and 339 cases have been identified -- a 30-plus percent mortality rate.

Scientists think MERS currently crosses only from camels to humans, but there is concern that the virus could evolve to jump from human to human.

Officials have been tracking the MERS virus for the last two years, but the rate of infections has skyrocketed over the last several months. Infections have also begun to crop up outside of Saudi Arabia and its immediate neighbors.

No cases have been identified inside the United States, and the CDC has yet to issue any travel advisories.

© 2014 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
Physicists teleport photon over 15 miles Physicists teleport photon over 15 miles
2
Android phones to join iPhone in saying no to the police Android phones to join iPhone in saying no to the police
3
New research suggests China's CO2 output is almost twice U.S.'s New research suggests China's CO2 output is almost twice U.S.'s
4
Perth's first iPhone buyer immediately drops brand new phone on live TV Perth's first iPhone buyer immediately drops brand new phone on live TV
5
WATCH: SpaceX is not only taking a 3D printer to space, but mice too WATCH: SpaceX is not only taking a 3D printer to space, but mice too
Trending News
Video
x
Feedback