Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) was first identified in camels and a new vaccine shows potential to protect against the virus in them, revealed a new study.
According to the World Health Organization, there have been more than 1,600 cases of MERS in 26 countries since the disease first emerged in 2012. Among these cases, nearly 600 people have died from MERS.
‘New MERS vaccine developed using modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA) which is a highly weakened form of the smallpox virus protects camels against the disease.’
The vaccine has been developed by German scientists from the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam. they reported that vaccinating camels can protect humans against MERS. Humans can catch the disease by coming in contact with a sick camel. The study was published in the Journal Science
Researchers administered the vaccine to four camels using a nasal spray and another four camels were given a placebo. After three weeks, the camels were given the MERS virus.
They found that after 8 to 10 days, the camels which received the placebo spray were found to have upper respiratory problems, but the vaccinated camels did not show any symptoms.
Researchers collected samples from the camels' respiratory tracts to test for the presence of MERS virus. The virus was found to be lesser in vaccinated camels when compared to that of the placebo.
Researchers used a virus called modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA) which is a highly weakened form of the smallpox virus. The vaccine also shows potential against Camelpox.
"It's unclear at this point if the same vaccine used in the camels would be effective in humans; however, clinical trials may be on the horizon," said the researchers.