Progress stalled on coronavirus

Nature | News  

Progress stalled on coronavirus
Lack of in-depth studies hampers efforts to identify source. 

Possible infection with the MERS coronavirus, or a closely related virus, has been detected in camels.
Frank Krahmer/Getty

 A year on from the first reported human case of infection with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), the world still has few answers to the most pressing question from a public-health perspective: what is the source of the steady stream of new cases? Only with this information can the outbreak be controlled.
There have so far been 114 confirmed cases of MERS-CoV infection, including 54 deaths, with another 34 suspected cases (see ‘Catching on’). All originated in the Arabian Peninsula, with most in Saudi Arabia and others in Jordan, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Imported cases have occurred in the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Tunisia. The virus is thought to be an animal virus that sporadically jumps to people — there are no signs yet that it can spread easily between humans, although limited spread between people in close contact has been seen.