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MERS coronavirus spreads Thailand, China develops 15-minute MERS test

  • Published by Ozgur Tore

mers virus

An outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronavirus has been ongoing in South Korea since May 2015. It is the largest known outbreak of MERS outside the Arabian Peninsula. Thailand said on Thursday a 75-year-old businessman from Oman, who had traveled to Bangkok for medical treatment for a heart condition, had tested positive for MERS.

A diagnostic reagent that can complete a test for MERS in just 15 minutes has been developed in China. The reagent was put together by Hong Kong and Xiamen universities and will be used in virus screening if the disease ever breaks out in China. The new reagent is efficient and can be used for a large number of tests. A single technician can process over 1,000 samples a day.

One of Thailand's leading hospitals, known for treating medical tourists, said on Friday it had received the country's first case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), as authorities said it had taken nearly four days to confirm the illness.

"The patient came to us tired, coughing ... there was no fever," a doctor from the private hospital told a televised news conference. "So we X-rayed his chest ... we found that he could have two things, a heart condition or the MERS virus." The hospital said 58 staff had been quarantined, but all other operations were continuing as normal.

Chinese airlines are cutting flights to the Republic of Korea (ROK) as the outbreak of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) reduces travel demand to the country.

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