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Saudi Arabia must be transparent to fight MERS virus (op/ed)

Slowly over the past year, a novel respiratory virus has claimed victims in the Middle East, primarily in Saudi Arabia. It comes from a species known as coronavirus, which, through an electronic microscope, looks like a spiky blob. The virus has been named Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), of the 157 laboratory-confirmed cases since September 2012, 66 people have died.

It is not uncommon for humans and animals to exchange dangerous pathogens. In the past decade, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, also a coronavirus, rose out of China, perhaps from bats; the swine flu pandemic originated in Mexico; and avian flu has remained an ever-present threat to humans. What’s most important about these diseases is whether they are transmissible from human to human. It turned out that SARS and swine flu spread quickly among people.
 
 

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