LONDON - Despite its high current death rate, the Middle East
Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) that emerged in Saudi Arabia last year is unlikely
to cause a SARS-like epidemic because it is not spreading as easily, scientists
said on Friday.
In the fullest clinical analysis yet of the new virus,
British and Saudi researchers said that while there are many similarities
between MERS and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) - which emerged in
China in 2002 and killed around 800 people worldwide - there are also important
The MERS coronavirus, which can cause coughing, fever and
pneumonia, emerged last year and has spread from the Gulf to France, Germany,
Italy, Tunisia and Britain. The World Health Organization (WHO) puts the latest
global toll at 45 deaths from 90 laboratory-confirmed cases.