Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is a respiratory illness that originated in Saudi Arabia in 2012. Symptoms of this disease include fever, cough, difficulty breathing, nausea, diarrhea, and possible renal failure.
Since its discovery, researchers have been working hard to develop a vaccine that will effectively prevent people from developing MERS.
Now, they have found hope in the most surprising of places: the desert.
After developing a vaccine that protects against the virus that causes MERS, researchers began testing it on camels. Developed by German scientists, the vaccine has shown to reduce the amount of virus found in camels infected by MERS.
The findings were part of a recently published study that sought to discern the effectiveness of the new vaccine. According to the study, camels are considered the primary host for the MERS virus. Humans then contract the disease when coming into contact with an infected camel.
Since the disease came into focus in 2012, 1,600 cases of MERS have been found in 26 countries, and 600 people have died after contracting the illness.
Previous studies have shown the origins of the illness to be in Saudi Arabia, where the majority of the camels are said to have MERS.
The vaccination might help to reduce the spread of MERS among camels, preventing them from spreading the virus to humans.
For the study, the camels were administered the vaccine using a nasal spray. For a control, four camels were given a placebo spray.
In eight to 10 days time, the camels that received the placebo were experiencing more symptoms of MERS (runny noses), while the camels that got the vaccine were not.
In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends that anyone above the age of six months should get the flu vaccination each season. Perhaps in regions in the Middle East, the MERS vaccination will become just as compulsory.