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MERS Vaccine Tested And Found Effective Among Camels

Update Date: Dec 22, 2015 09:23 AM EST

There is now a growing hope in humanity's attempt to fight off the highly contagious and deadly Middle East Respiratory syndrome (MERS).

Recently, a team of Spanish research experts from the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona and Animal Health Research Center (IRTA-CReSA) has successfully developed and tested a breakthrough vaccine in dromedary camels against MERS.

The scientists are hoping that by creating a vaccine that works on camels, they would soon be able to develop a viable means of protecting humanity from MERS infection.

The researchers applied the newly-developed nasal spray vaccine on four camels. For purposes of comparison, four other camels were given nasal spray placebo. Both groups were injected with MERS virus. After 10 days, camels that did not receive vaccination manifested MERS symptoms while the vaccinated ones were reportedly free from any MERS-linked symptoms as mentioned by Scientific American.

In an earlier Saudi-based study on MERS, the virus was reportedly the source of the viral outbreak as stated in a news story by Nature Asia. In the study, scientists mentioned that vaccinating the host [camels] might minimize the spread of infection from camels to humans.

According to Morning Ticker, MERS is a fatal disease that already infected around 1, 600 people mostly in the Middle East. It was also responsible for 584 reported deaths. Due to international travels to and from the Middle East, MERS cases appeared to have been documented in 26 countries as per World Health Organization (WHO) in an article by Immortal News.

The researchers, however, reminded the public that finding a vaccine that works on camels is only the first step as it the study requires further studies.

"This is nonetheless a very significant step forward in the fight against this pathogen; now we need to delve more deeply into the duration of the immunity and dosage before applying it in real situations," told Joaquim Segales of the Department of Animal Health and Anatomy at UAB as quoted saying by Vaccine News Daily.

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